National Press Club

Financial crisis costs more than $12.8 trillion, says Better Markets in report at NPC

September 12, 2012 | By Sean Lyngaas | sean.lyngaas@gmail.com

Financial watchdog Better Markets Inc. announced the release of a report Sept. 12 at the National Press Club that estimated the cost of the 2008-2009 financial crisis to be over $12.8 trillion.

“It is remarkable…that no one has looked at the damage caused comprehensively'' until now, Better Markets Chief Executive Officer Dennis Kelleher told reporters at the Newsmaker event.

Formed as a non-profit organization in 2010 to push for regulation of Wall Street on Capitol Hill, Better Markets timed the release of its report on the financial crisis to coincide with the fourth anniversary of the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank.

The report uses four broad metrics to measure the cost of the financial crisis: unemployment; loss of household wealth; the cost of government bailouts; and “human suffering”, which includes adverse effects of the crisis such as hunger and depression. Kelleher said the last metric has been largely absent from media coverage of the crisis.

“There has been almost no consistent, aggressive reporting on” the financial crisis by the media, he said.

Kelleher said he hopes the report starts a dialogue on the cost of the crisis to the American people. “If you don’t think it is $12.8 trillion, then what is it?” he asked.

While there is wide support for regulatory reform among the American people, it may take another scandal on the scale of Libor to drive a serious debate on the financial crisis between the Romney and Obama presidential campaigns, Kelleher said.