Despite the overwhelming transpartisan popularity of both Social Security and Medicare with the American public, deficit fetishists in both parties are wagging their fingers and demanding that both must go under the knife or the economy will collapse. But there’s no corresponding debate about the high cost of the unpopular wars we keep waging. Apparently our elected leaders believe wars are free.

The public seems to understand, however, that wars cost money. Moreover, more Americans say that the cost of war has contributed a “great deal” to the deficit (60%), as opposed to those who say the same about domestic spending (24%) in a recent Pew poll.

Maybe all those swell economists Pete Peterson keeps paying can explain it to them?