Military and diplomatic questions aside, a U.S. attack on Iraq would also be felt financially by the United States, an economic forecaster says.

The threatened U.S. military attack would carry a hefty price tag, said Donald Ratajczak, director of the Economic Forecasting Center at Georgia State University. He estimated that an air war would cost $150 million a day, and if a new ground war developed, the costs could be $1 billion a day."No federal government surplus is likely if such defense expenditures are needed," according to his forecast released Thursday.

The Iraq situation is a variable that could affect the expansion of the national economy, Ratajczak said in his quarterly economic forecast, which calls for a 3 percent growth in domestic economic activity for 1998.

A military conflict also could change government borrowing, lead-ing to higher interest rates, the forecast said.

"Unlike 1991, when we had strong allies who basically paid for our soldiers being there, this looks like it's going to be our show," Ratajczak added.