U.S. Economy Still at 'Grave Risk' on 4-Year Anniversary of Lehman Brothers Collapse

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Foster said putting in place more regulations will not necessarily prevent a future financial crisis and Dodd-Frank would not have prevented the last disaster, nor could it at this point prevent contagion from a future crisis in Europe.

"The one thing we know works is requiring financial institutions to hold substantial amounts of capital," Foster said.

But the Basel capital requirements, from the global Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, have become too convoluted, even for regulators.

"Rather than trying to be sophisticated about risk weighting, just require capital," Foster urged.

James Gattuso, a senior fellow in regulatory policy at the Heritage Foundation, said the collapse of Lehman Brothers was one trigger of the recession.

"There have been huge economic policy mistakes that have occurred since 2008," Gattuso said.

Gattuso said the report fails to fully account for the costs of over-regulation, increased debt and overspending.

"To isolate the effects of the banking crisis and the other bad economic policies is essential if you're going to estimate the cost of the banking crisis," he said.

Gattuso said the United States needs a "properly functioning bankruptcy system" and a "financial industry that works, where failure is punished and success is rewarded."

Kelleher agreed on that point, saying his report's objective was to start a discussion in light of the still-troubled U.S. economy.

"There are 23.1 million Americans who cannot find work and 11 million homeowners, almost one in four, saddled with mortgages higher than their homes, so-called underwater mortgages," Kelleher said.

"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."

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