Rep. Ed Towns, D-N.Y., suggested yesterday that the recession has caused racial tensions to rise among Americans in recent years.

“People have a tendency of not getting along when there is a lack of resources,” Towns told The Washington Examiner, recalling his experience competing for funding as a student at Adelphi University. “As long as there was money flowing, everybody was happy; but when the money started drying up that’s when the whole issue of race became prevalent. Any time you have an economic downturn, the race issue will pop up.”

Towns recalled that, when he was a boy in North Carolina, the local school system ran one facility for white students, another black students, and a third for Native American students.

“We would have no problem with our deficit today had we not made those kind of mistakes,” he said of the waste involved in running three schools. “We wasted money back in those days, we wasted a whole lot.”