Is it even possible to tally up the total impact of the financial crisis? Better Markets tried to give it a shot and puts the price tag at "no less than $12.8 trillion."
The remaining $5.2 trillion is GDP loss that was avoided, but only because it was prevented by the "extraordinarily fiscal and monetary policy actions" by the government during the crisis.
The report calls the $12.8 trillion price tag a "very conservative" figure, as it doesn't include a host of other costs, some of which can't be readily quantified: the conversion of investment banks like Goldman Sachs into bank holding companies that receive "full access to federal support for regulated banks" and the destruction of human capital through long-term mass unemployment, for example.
Better Markets produced partly as a response to industry-favored "cost-benefit analysis" of financial regulations that fails to take into account the very cost of the crisis itself. The group also stresses that "absent an understanding of the true costs of the financial and economic crises, a sense of complacency can arise and a lack of urgency to take action to prevent such crises from happening again, especially as the memory of these events and their impact fades."