Especially if you've experienced significant financial hardship along the way (and if remaining an adjunct would cause you significant financial hardship), is it worth it to spend time and effort getting the Ph.D. if you cannot, in the end, no matter how talented and smart you are, achieve the career goal you started out with?
The Economist says no. Thomas H. Benton has been saying no for a long time. This NYU guy says yes, but I think there are some serious flaws with his argument, starting with the fact that his point-of-view is that of the university --specifically, that of the professor of graduate students and someone serving on the graduate admissions committee--and that the interests he represents are those of the university and NOT of the students. Sure, it's great for universities, at least in the short term, to have an abundance of graduate students and recent Ph.D.s willing to work as serfs, believing if they stick it out long enough--if they can prove themselves good enough--that a tenure-track job will come along eventually and make it all worth it. But that argument doesn't do a very good job of representing the interests of graduate students or recent Ph.D.s....
My answer is complicated, and readers will have to wait to read it. But in the meantime, share your thoughts, whether you have a Ph.D. or not, whether you're on the tenure track or not!
If it's worth it, what makes it so? If not, why not?