In addition to the thousands of casualties that have occurred as a result of the war on terror, economist Jonathan Gruber said that by some estimates the protracted conflicts and various military engagements that have been waged as part of it have cost the United States more than $6 trillion.

“War is expensive,” Gruber said during an interview with Boston Public Radio on Wednesday. “There has been spending in depressed economies and boom economies and much of it’s overseas. And that doesn’t do anything for our economy, and this is a huge cost.”

One problem, Gruber said, is that politicians frequently call for military engagement without properly considering the economic costs.

“Whenever we talk about going into conflict [cost] isn’t discussed,” Gruber said. “Every missile we fire off means we are not providing childcare or education or healthcare for hundreds or thousands or millions of people, and we have to face those trade offs before we enter the next conflict”

Gruber is the Ford Professor of Economics at MIT. He was instrumental in creating both the Massachusetts health-care reform and the Affordable Care Act. His latest book is “Jump-Starting America How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream.”