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Who Do Americans Hate During Economic Downtimes? It's Not Who You Think

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The recession has been over for some time now, and the economy is booming... wait. You say, it's not booming unless you're rich?

Well, if you're still feeling pinched, maybe it's the fault of individuals heavy on the melanin. The odds are pretty good that you blame them anyway.

You see, a new study has shown that Americans "become subconsciously more prejudiced against dark-skinned people when times are tight."

That's right. On top of devastating the country, wiping out many people's savings, and increasing the obscene gap between the wealthy and the rest of us, the Great Recession may have had the side effect of increasing racial tension.

The researchers say that economic scarcity influences how people treat those outside of their own social groups. In addition:

... with the economy still recovering from the detrimental recession -- which had a more adverse effect on blacks than whites -- the findings suggest that institutional inequality may not be the only culprit, but also individual prejudices toward racial minorities.

The study showed that when people are pressed economically, they are more likely to agree with "zero-sum" beliefs like "When blacks make economic gains, whites lose out economically."

So on a subconscious level -- and in many cases, an overt level -- individuals are quick to blame outsiders (particularly those with darker skin) for stealing their piece of the pie.

Of course, the ironic part of all this remains that the super-rich (few of whom are black or Latino) are the more likely culprits for the vanishing middle class.

I know many will scream, "Class warfare!" at the mere suggestion that the uber-wealthy are sticking it to the rest of us. But consider that last year, for the first time since the Great Depression, 50 percent of income went to the top 10 percent of earners.

If that is not enough for you to realize that the rich are hoarding more than their fair share, consider the case of Starbucks, the ubiquitous peddler of overpriced coffee.

In 2012 and 2013, the CEO of Starbucks earned $1.5 million in salary. Now, that's a comfortable living, but it's not egregious. So what's the problem? It's just that "during the same period [he] took in a whopping $236 million in stock and performance pay."

And the CEO is grotesquely wealthy not just because of the kindness of Starbucks' corporate honchos. Paying him that much through the shell game of stock and performance pay shaved $82 million of off Starbucks' corporate taxes. It's a win-win for everybody in the executive suite.

But that just doesn't sound as cool as "Mexicans are stealing our jobs."

And so the scam continues.