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Financial crisis cost U.S. trillions

Published: Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 1:54 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON – The financial crisis and the Great Recession have taken a heavy toll on the U.S. Now one advocacy group says it has calculated that cost: at least $12.8 trillion.

The estimate Wednesday from Better Markets, a public interest group that supports tougher financial regulations, came in a 72-page report released just days before the four-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Bros. That failure triggered the crisis, which dramatically exacerbated the recession that began in late 2007.

“People actually shouldn’t be surprised there is a big number when you’re adding up the costs of what’s happened to this country,” said Dennis Kelleher, the group’s chief executive, who hopes the report will be used to offset complaints by Wall Street about the cost of new regulations spurred by the crisis.

“Wall Street and its many allies and sympathizers are denying and understating the cost of the crisis to kill, weaken and avoid regulation,” he told reporters.

The report tries to calculate the effect of the crisis and recession in terms of reduced economic output, and the costs of stabilizing the markets and bailing out banks and large financial firms.

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