The researchers point out that the wealth gap between Black and white Americans is the driving factor in these differences. Poor white households reduce their spending about the same amount as similarly poor black households. With fewer resources to fall back on, poorer households feel the need to decrease their spending more significantly.

“The naive conclusion to this finding is that race doesn’t matter, but wealth matters,” said Damon Jones. “But wealth is a function of race. The causes of the racial wealth gap are due to longstanding forces.”

Jones points out that as a result of historical injustices, the safety net is more important for Black Americans. If the government chooses eliminate unemployment enhancement, or delay it for some months while they negotiate, Black households will once again be the group hurt most.

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