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March 22, 1991 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-03-22

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Former Treasurer
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Staff Writer


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FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 1991

n the aftermath of a
military victory in the
Middle East, Americans
must begin to take stock,
former state treasurer
Robert Bowman said this
"It is time to take stock of
ourselves," Mr. Bowman
told 125 members of the
Jewish Welfare Federation's
Economic Forum on Mon-
day. "Most people just
believe the economy will
turn around in 30 to 60 days.
I am sorry, but I don't share
that optimism."
Although Mr. Bowman
projected a tough economy
for the next eight to 12 mon-
ths, he said he looks forward
to the success of the '90s.
"The '90s focus must be
savings," Mr. Bowman said.
"And the philosophy of sav-
ings is you can't get some-
thing unless you work for it.
"In the long term, we
wouldn't want to live
anywhere else," Mr.
Bowman said.
Mr. Bowman, who served
for eight years in the Blan-
chard administration in
Lansing, was the first
speaker of the Economic
Forum, a series of luncheons
addressing political, social
and economic issues that af-
fect the general and Jewish
Credited with balancing
the state budget and improv-
ing Michigan's credit rating,
Mr. Bowman — at age 27 —
became the youngest state
treasurer in the nation. He
is now an economic consul-
tant for WXYZ-TV Channel
An outgrowth of the Fed-
eration's now defunct
Breakfast Club, the Forum
is an organized outreach
effort aimed at attracting a
more diverse audience to the
Jewish community.
"This is a product replac-
ing the Breakfast Club,
which offered similar pro-
grams. We felt this was the
next step," said Michelle
Passon, Federation leader-
ship development director.
"People say, 'You only call
me for my pledge.' We're
saying we want you to be in-
terested and we want to help
the Jewish community
Other scheduled Forum
speakers are local economist
David Littmann, April 29;
and former State Supreme

Bob Bowman:
Complicated debate.

Court Justice Dennis Ar-
cher, June 17.
"Our goal is to get people
to be more active, and not
just financially, whether it is
in the Federation, a syn-
agogue or some other Jewish
agency," Mrs. Passon said.
During Monday's session,
Mr. Bowman spoke briefly
about the state's economy,
saying the ongoing political
argument in Lansing is
merely a philosophical
debate on the role of state
"In the minds of politi-
cians and the media, this is a
complicated debate," Mr.
Bowman said. "John Engler
is trying to downsize
government, and the real
debate is over the size of
But, Mr. Bowman said, the
size of state government is
not as important as the
many human needs groups
that will be cut.
"That isn't what my
government is all about,"
Mr. Bowman said. "There
are those who work for so
many worthy causes that are
looking at 50 percent cuts,
Turning to the national
economy, Mr. Bowman said
the stock market is not a
good indicator when there
are trillions of dollars in
debt that need to find a
home. The best mechanism
for measuring the economy
is actual unemployment
claims, he said.
Mr. Bowman said the
500,000 new unemployment
claims facing the nation
each week is "a good in-
dicator that our economy is
not in good shape."
With a $3 trillion federal
deficit, the government can
not increase spending nor
cut taxes, he said. 11

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