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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Babbling Buffoon-- Rangel UPDATED

After posting on Rangel a little while ago, I did a little more checking into the income level and education of our military and the numbers not only debunk Rangel and Pelosi's claims about the draft issue, it truly does make him into a babbling buffoon as well as those that buy his lies, hook, line and sinker.

From the Heritage Foundation:

A few Members of Congress, motivated by American combat in the Middle East, have called for the reinstatement of a compulsory military draft. The case for coercing young citizens to join the military is supposedly based on social jus­tice—that all should serve—and seems to be but­tressed by reports of shortfalls in voluntary enlistment. In a New York Times op-ed on Decem­ber 31, 2002, Representative Charles Rangel (D– NY) claimed, "A disproportionate number of the poor and members of minority groups make up the enlisted ranks of the military, while most priv­ileged Americans are underrepresented or absent." This claim is frequently repeated by crit­ics of the war in Iraq. Aside from the logical fal­lacy that a draft is less offensive to justice than a voluntary policy, Rangel's assertions about the demographic makeup of the enlisted military are not grounded in fact.


This evidence directly contradicts Representative Rangel's claim that under­privileged Americans are the source of military manpower and that the privileged are underrepresented. In fact, Chart 4 shows that every ZCTA income bracket below $40,000 provided the same number or fewer recruits after 9/11, while all brackets above $40,000 provided the same number or more.

To debunk any other such silliness about education:

We find that, on average, recruits tend to be much more highly educated than the general pub­lic and that this education disparity increased after the war on terrorism began. Comparable detailed education data from the Census classify the educa­tion level of individuals into one of seven categories (from less than high school up to graduate/profes­sional degree). We generated a binary variable that assigns a 1 for individuals with a high school diploma or higher and a 0 for less than a high school diploma.

If one single statistic could settle this issue, it is this: 98 percent of all enlisted recruits who enter the military have an education level of high school graduate or higher, compared to the national aver­age of 75 percent.[5] In an education context, rather than attracting underprivileged young Americans, the military seems to be attracting above-average Americans. What remains to explore is whether this pattern of military enlistment is (1) consistent across ZIP codes, (2) consistent across all branches of service, and/or (3) consistent proportionally across all levels of education.

The claim could still be made that highly edu­cated recruits are being pulled from underprivi­leged areas, marked by below-average high school graduation rates. Further analysis shows that any such claim would also be incorrect. We used the binary measure to make a ZIP code–level compari­son. By comparing the records of 183,288 individ­ual recruits from the 1999 cohort, using ZIP code of origin, against other Census populations by ZIP code, our analysis shows that roughly half (48.5 percent) of enlistees came from three-digit ZCTAs with above-average national graduation rates. The other half of enlistees came from areas with below-average high school graduation rates.

Regardless of ZIP code area, we also find that enlistees are almost universally better educated than the general population. In all but one of the 885 three-digit ZCTAs, the graduation rate for 1999 recruits was higher than the graduation rate for non-recruits ages 18–24. In 2003, recruits had a higher graduation rate in every ZCTA. Figure 2, by using a gray scale to show the intensity of the educational gap, clearly shows that recruits are often better educated than the general population.

Then they go on to study further and fight that those enlisting AFTER 9/11 were even more educated than those pre 9/11.

After September 11, 2001, the educational quality of recruits rose slightly. Comparing 1999 enlisted recruits to 2003 recruits showed an increase in col­legiate experience. In 2003, a higher proportion of recruits had college experience and diplomas, and a lower percentage had only a high school diploma— a shift of about 3 percentage points. Furthermore, this figure is not subject to statistical significance tests because it measures the entire recruit popula­tion, not just a sample of it. Therefore, we can say definitively that enlistee quality actually increased between 1999 and 2003.

They go on to carefully analyze other aspects, all of which not only debunk Rangel's assertions, but they actually make him look as silly as the abbling buffoon I propose he is.

I ask again, is Rangel simply too stupid to understand the data or is he a deliberate liar? Which is it to be?