Middle Class Military

Charles Rangel, the looney left-wing Democrat, has criticized the military on several issues, one of them that the military is made up disproportionately of minorities while middle and upper class families reap the benefits without risk.

Where he got that idea from, who knows. Certainly didn’t come from the facts, though. Turns out most of the military volunteers come from middle class families.

Researchers matched the ZIP codes of recruits over the past five years with federal government estimates of household incomes in those neighborhoods. Contrary to complaints from some liberal lawmakers and pundits, the data show that the poor are not shouldering the bulk of the military’s need for new soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines.

The poorest neighborhoods provided 18 percent of recruits in prewar 1999 and 14.6 percent in 2003. By contrast, areas where household incomes ranged from $30,000 to $200,000 provided more than 85 percent.

“We found that recruits tend to come from middle-class areas, with disproportionately fewer from low-income areas,” said the report, prepared by Tim Kane, an Air Force Academy graduate and economics scholar. “Overall, the income distribution of military enlistees is more similar to than different from the income distribution of the general population.”

Turns out they’re better educated than the average American, too:

Mr. Kane said overall evidence “is at odds with the image, painted by some supporters of the draft, that the military exploits poor, ignorant young Americans by using slick advertising that promises technical careers in the military to dupe them into trading their feeble opportunities in the private sector for a meager role as cannon fodder.”

About 98 percent of all enlistees from 1999 to 2003 had a high school diploma, compared with 75 percent of nonrecruits nationwide.

“In an education context, rather than attracting underprivileged young Americans, the military seems to be attracting above-average Americans,” Mr. Kane wrote.

Just something that warmed my heart, knowing my son returns from Army basic training tomorrow. 🙂

* Tip from Brutally Honest. About the news article, I mean, not the news about my son.