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ALICE RIVLIN - ECONOMIC GURU. Budgets are no wonderland for this Alice

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From Alice Rivlin's calendar: Jan. 26-28: Sweden. Publication of book co-edited on the Swedish economy; dinner with the Swedish finance minister.

Feb. 5: The Gerald Ford Library in Ann Arbor, Mich. Interview for PBS series about the Constitution.

Feb. 11: North Carolina State University. Participant in Emerging Issues Forum with businessman H.Ross Perot and Gov. Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts.

Feb. 13: Los Angeles. RAND Corporation, board of advisers on civil justice.

Feb. 18: Puerto Rico. Address business group.

Feb. 23: New York. Time magazine's board of economists.

It's been a busy winter for Alice Rivlin, the economist, author, national economic policy guru, and director of the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. After 12 years in government and 30 years watching it, Mrs. Rivlin is helping the world sort things out. Known for her intellectual honesty, she travels the globe.

Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, calls Rivlin ``one of the relatively few policy economists in the country who gets a triple-A rating.'' Dr. Greenspan, head of the consulting firm Townsend-Greenspan in New York, says that politics often enters into policy analysis. But in Rivlin's case, he notes, ``If she says something is a fact, it's a fact.''

She is also lauded for her straightforward manner, forsaking the jargon many economists routinely use. Columnist David Broder writes, ``She is a rare bird - an economist who writes sparklingly clear English, has a sense of humor, and recognizes that her science is something less than precise or perfect.''

The latest wisdom from Rivlin came late in December during a speech at the American Economics Association, where she outlined several suggestions for budget reform. These included:

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