``The GAO also estimates the loss in housing value for American families, which it pegs at $9.1 trillion, noting that "national home equity was approximately $3.7 trillion less than total home mortgage debt." What they're describing is nearly four trillion dollars in money that Americans owe to their banks for real estate value that no longer exists. They base that number on December 2011 figures, and it will have changed by now - both because some real estate markets have picked up, and because millions of homeowners have been foreclosed upon. But the figure is still in the $3 trillion range.''

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