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Our View: Real Crises

Updated: March 15, 2013 1:24PM

It is time, President Obama said during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, for Washington to stop bouncing from one “manufactured crisis” to the next.

It is time, he said, to end the “brinksmanship” and to get serious about striking a grand bargain on government spending cuts and revenue increases — a deal aimed at rebuilding America’s middle class. Way past time, actually.

Washington knows all about manufactured crises. But in Illinois, we know about the real thing. We know about poverty and unemployment and a constant gunfire that is taking our children.

The president’s agenda of rebuilding the middle class, creating greater opportunities for all, is essential. “It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country — the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like or who you love,” the president said.

What America cannot do, the president rightly said, is “cut our way to prosperity.” A balanced approach is essential, one that includes investment in pre-schools, infrastructure, alternative energy and basic research.

The president proposed raising the minimum wage nationwide to $9 an hour — a far better idea than Gov. Pat Quinn’s proposal for Illinois to go it alone, raising the minimum wage here to at least $10 over four years. Illinois would be at a competitive disadvantage to its neighbors who have been cherry-picking firms and jobs for years.

But let’s get real. The president promised his plan would add nothing to the deficit, even as he offered up a long liberal to-do list, such as putting people “to work fixing up distressed communities” and fixing 70,000 bridges.

Seriously? The president might want to focus a bit, zeroing in on a select number of priorities, such as investing in pre-schools and tackling global warming.

But on this we can agree: Enough with the manufactured crisis.

There is not a reason in the world to allow mandated across-the-board budget cuts to kick in March 1 — the so-called sequester.

We have real crises to deal with.

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