Required, in fact:
For generations, [Brookings folk] write, we held the view that “the feds and states are the adults in the system, setting direction; the cities and the metropolitan areas are the children, waiting for their allowance. The metropolitan revolution is exploding this tired construct. (NYT, Tom Friedman)-snip-
“Washington is dysfunctional politically, and it is not just a momentary thing,” Rahm Emanuel, who gave up being the president’s chief of staff to become mayor of Chicago, told me. “We always said that there’d be a day when all that the federal government does is debt service, entitlement payments and defense. Well, folks, that day is here. (ibid)
Firstly, a nod of the brim to our forebears in the federal government of the 60's and on, who built and struggle to maintain the Great Society.
Secondly, yes, the Brookings set calls for reorientation are partly in recognition that only metro areas are willing to patronize their own mild Utopian thinking and research anymore. But this only underlines a known problem. Cities seem to be the only governments politically accountable to demands for fixing things or improving conditions.
Third, Pittsburgh has its own "entitlement" line-items (as well as infrastructure requirements, capital needs, economic and social development needs) so this all points tremendously to needs to prioritize. In the end we'll need a comprehensive and popular strategy.
While we're at that, we all might as well all learn a foreign language.