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US Economy Still at Grave Risk on 4-Year Anniversary of Lehman Brothers Collapse

Chris Hondros/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Just in the time for the four-year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, a report concludes that the U.S. financial crisis has cost the country $12.8 trillion.

Better Markets, a nonprofit organization whose self-described mission is to "promote the public interest in financial reform," estimated the cost of the "Wall-Street caused financial collapse and ongoing economic crisis" using figures from the Congressional Budget Office and Gross Domestic Product estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Lehman Brothers, the financial services firm, filed for bankruptcy Sept. 15, 2008, with about $691 billion in assets, the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Dennis Kelleher, CEO of Better Markets and co-author of the report, said his organization timed its release with the anniversary to influence lawmakers to focus on tighter regulations.

"The message isn't to banks. It's to policy makers," Kelleher said. "If you look at the economic wreckage and suffering of the American people through the worst economy since the Great Depression, and see that it caused trillions of dollars. The priority has to be preventing this from ever happening again."

Kelleher admitted that the $12.8 trillion figure is an estimate and not a comprehensive figure.

He makes clear that the report does not insist "there's only one way to do this."

Kelleher believes, "The most important part of financial reform is regulating ‘too big to fail’ banks, so that if they fail, they fail without causing a collapse of the financial system or an economic crisis."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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