Apparently, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) wants the federal government to seize all wealth and redistribute it because in his view, wealthy people do not fight America’s wars.
The Hill reports:
Citing statistics that show 1 percent of Americans now own 42 percent of the nation’s wealth, the lawmaker representing Harlem said: “There is something wrong with that formula.”
Rangel offered no specific remedy for adjusting those figures during his comments on the House floor but argued further that the wealthiest 1 percent have the added benefit of not needing to get involved in military service.
“Why is it that we know, or that we can suspect, that in this war where we lost so many lives, that so many people have been wounded, that our brave men and women coming home will subject themselves with a lack of funds to deal with their physical or mental problems?” Rangel asked.
“And yet we somehow know that that 1 percent was not involved in defending our great nation,” he added.
Rangel went on to claim that the wealthy do not serve in America’s military.
“We can almost know without any investigation that the wealthiest of Americans never found themselves protecting our flag,” he added.
Ed Morrissey of Hot Air responded to Rangel’s claim:
Well, we can “know” a lot of things without any investigation, and apparently Rangel is the Dean of the No-Research Assumptions School of Political Rhetoric. Even aside from that, though, is this strange accusation in a nation with an all-volunteer military. No one gets drafted into service, since the draft ended decades ago. The people fighting this war have all volunteered for service — and most of those who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq volunteered after the wars had already begun.
Morrissey cites a 2006 Heritage Foundation study that clearly refutes Rangel’s outrageous claim:
Indeed, in many criteria, each year shows advancement, not decline, in measurable qualities of new enlistees. For example, it is commonly claimed that the military relies on recruits from poorer neighborhoods because the wealthy will not risk death in war. This claim has been advanced without any rigorous evidence. Our review of Pentagon enlistee data shows that the only group that is lowering its participation in the military is the poor. The percentage of recruits from the poorest American neighborhoods (with one-fifth of the U.S. population) declined from 18 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2003, 14.1 percent in 2004, and 13.7 percent in 2005.
This report updates the previous Heritage Foundation report, with data on all U.S. recruits during 2004 and 2005. We introduce the term “wartime recruits” to identify volunteer enlistees in all branches during 2003, 2004, and 2005. …
In summary, the additional years of recruit data (2004-2005) support the previous finding that U.S. military recruits are more similar than dissimilar to the American youth population. The slight differences are that wartime U.S. military enlistees are better educated, wealthier, and more rural on average than their civilian peers.
Recruits have a higher percentage of high school graduates and representation from Southern and rural areas. No evidence indicates exploitation of racial minorities (either by race or by race-weighted ZIP code areas). Finally, the distribution of household income of recruits is noticeably higher than that of the entire youth population.
A graph produced by Heritage shows the middle class is over-represented in the military. Morrissey adds:
The distribution among those making more than $100K a year is also off, but by about 0.2% difference from the normal population distribution. Once you get above the $70K per year mark, the ration of distribution of enlistees to the general population is almost equal.
But Rangel, like so many on the left, isn’t interested in facts, only demagoguery. This attack is just another way to demonize the rich and make himself look good in the eyes of the anti-capitalists protesting in the streets.
“Perhaps instead of loudly celebrating his ignorance, Rangel would be better served by actually checking his assumptions before proclaiming them as fact,” Morrissey adds, concluding, “Or better yet, maybe he should just retire.”
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