Charlie Rangel says the recruits are poorest of the poor, the underprivledged and that is why we need the draft, so that it is not just the poor fighting the war.
So, that leaves the question who are the troops???
The Heritage Foundation has answered that question in a report by Tim Kane entitled "Who Are the Recruits? The Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Enlistment, 2003-2005." You have the link, go and read the report for yourself.
According to the report a higher percentage of military recruits have graduated from high school than the general population. In 2004 82.7% of recruits were high school graduates while another 7.03% had their GEDs. The national high school graduation rate that year was 79.8%. Even today, in 2006, the high school graduation rate for recruits is still higher than the high school graduation rate for the civilian population.
Looks to me like the recruits are doing pretty well. You'll also find that "the Department of Defense reported that the mean reading level of 2004 recruits is a full grade level higher than that of the comparable youth population."
You will also find in the report that Charlie Rangel's arguement does not hold water either. As it turns out the poorest of the poor does not make up the majority of the military. The middle and upper middle class does.
In fact, the poorest of the poor are declining to enlist faster than any other group. The income group of $0-$29,375 has had a decline in enlistment of over 5% a year since 2003. If Charlie Rangel had his way and enforced a draft there would actually be more of the poorest of the poor in the military. (Forced to be in the military I may add.)
The income group with the highest growing number of recruits since 2003 is the $52,071-$2000,001. Of course this is not shocking news to me. After all, I came from the high end of the middle of this bracket.