A number of key issues were left out of the debate, most notably healthcare and voting rights. But issues such as race, crime, and the economy all figured prominently, and the 400 pound hackers of America (purportedly capable of the DNC hack) got a shout-out.
One of the most memorable moments of the debate was when Trump's comment that not paying taxes makes him "smart." Apart from the obvious tax evasion issues of someone of his financial standing not paying his taxes, there are a number of political and moral issues that must be confronted.
Trump's well-known slogan is "Make America Great Again." Well-meaning people can debate over whether America is already great, and how to build on its progress and its pitfalls. But regardless of where one stands on this issue, it is important to note that policy change requires investment.
Here are a few things our taxes go toward:
* Social Security -- retirement benefits for millions of Americans
* Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, ACA subsidies -- healthcare benefits to seniors, the poor, and those with disabilities
* Defense and security-related international assistance
* Food stamps, school meals, and other such assistance addressing food insecurity
* Low-income housing assistance
* Transportation and infrastructure
* K-12 education
* Veterans' benefits
Good people disagree over the extent to which we should be investing in federal programs versus garnering program support from tax revenues. But investing to some degree in these programs is essential to protecting children, families, seniors, the poor, veterans, and in truth every American citizen given the diffuse benefits that people reap from infrastructure, security, and economic investments. America will never be great for those who can no longer afford health benefits, who are no longer protected if they lose their job, who rely on the VA, who cannot afford lunch at school, if these programs are not funded by our government. Indeed, in 2015, over 59 million Americans received Social Security benefits. 16% of Americans receive Medicare benefits and 16% receive Medicaid benefits. These are far from fringe issues.
If you want to make America great again, that's your prerogative. But if Trump wants to make America great again, he needs to invest in America. Trump has his opportunity to do so every April 15 and instead called it "smart" to opt out.