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Cost of Financial Crisis Tops $22 Trillion

Posted on Feb 15, 2013
jDevaun (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The 2008 financial crisis cost the U.S. economy more than $22 trillion, a study by the Government Accountability Office published Thursday said.

“The 2007-2009 financial crisis, like past financial crises, was associated with not only a steep decline in output but also the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s,” the report read. The toll on economic output may be as much a $13 trillion—an amount equal to a year’s GDP.

The report was published as part of a cost-benefit analysis of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law of 2010. The office tried to determine whether the costs of implementing that law would be greater or lesser than that of another economic crisis.

“If the cost of a future crisis is expected to be in the trillions of dollars, then the act likely would need to reduce the probability of a future financial crisis by only a small percent for its expected benefit to equal the act’s expected cost,” the GAO concluded.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Huffington Post:

Federal agencies have spent some $1.1 billion in implementing the law, the report found. Financial companies, and therefore the wider economy, will shoulder some costs, although the GAO noted “no comprehensive data are readily available on the costs that the financial services industry is incurring to comply with the Dodd-Frank Act.”

It’s unclear whether the report will mollify critics of the Dodd-Frank law.

… The GAO noted it was not the first to estimate costs of the financial crisis. Non-profit financial reform advocacy group Better Markets last year pegged the cost of the crisis at $12.8 trillion, but warned many economic costs were impossible to measure.

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