In 2012, Better Markets published the first report on the cost of the financial crisis to the U.S. The report calculated the costs from lost jobs, homes and retirement savings, to the massive costs of bailing out the banks, at more than $12.8 trillion. That figure will of course never reflect the human suffering of the tens of millions of Americans who lost jobs, medical care, college educations, savings, retirements, homes and so much more. Since the Better Markets report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and the GAO also issued reports putting the costs at a similar or higher number.
A recent column in the New York Times discusses these studies and highlights the fact that many of those costs continue to rise, maybe resulting in “as much as $120,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.” This is critically important because the whole point of financial reform is to make sure that such a catastrophe never happens again to our country. It is also an important rebuttal to Wall Street’s unending complaints about the supposed costs of financial reform to it, never mentioning the staggering costs of the crisis to America. So, “every time you hear about the need to balance the costs of new financial regulation [to Wall Street] against their benefits [to Main Street], it might do well to think about” the real costs of the crisis.