Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday called for the redistribution of America's riches and hammered the wealthy for benefiting from a war effort fought by the poor and middle class.
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?" he asked. "And yet we somehow know that that 1 percent was not involved in defending our great nation."
Rangel said the economy would be helped by getting more money in the hands of the other 99 percent.
"If we have the other 99 percent of the people who are not wealthy, and if it was possible for them to get a fair shake and have more expendable income, you wouldn't have to put out ads for them to buy," he said.
Rep. Chris MurphyChris MurphyMeet the man who sparked the Democratic revolt on guns The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP wins congressional baseball game, ending 7-year losing streak MORE (D-Conn.) spoke after Rangel and argued and the U.S. as a nation is not broke, even though the federal government is broke. the U.S. is effectively keeping the federal government broke by not taxing the wealthy, he said.
"Despite what you hear on TV, despite what you hear on Fox News today, taxes as a percentage of GDP today are at a 60-year low," Murphy said.
Murphy said taxing the top 1 percent more is a needed step because the income of the other 99 percent has remained mostly flat over the past several years, while the income of the top tier has increased sharply.