Some 10 years after the global finance system nearly collapsed under the weight of reckless mortgage lending, the U.S. economy is still feeling the impact. And the reverberations will continue for some time.
Over the long term, the financial damage from the 2008 meltdown will cost every American roughly $70,000 during their lifetime, according to research published in August by the San Francisco Federal Reserve.
The reason, the researchers say, is that the collapse of the global credit system a decade ago has permanently depressed the nation's gross domestic product by about 7 percentage points.
"This is a large number," San Francisco Fed economist Regis Barnichon and his co-authors wrote. "Without the large adverse financial shocks experienced in 2007 and 2008, the behavior of GDP would have been very different."
The result is that the capacity of the U.S. economy is smaller today that it would have been if the 2008 meltdown had never happened. That dampening effect can be seen in the annual economic forecasts that followed the financial crisis, as the long-term damage took effect. One widely watched annual forecast from the Congressional Budget Office, for example, has been steadily downgraded for most of the last decade.