Wall Street finance expert and serial entrepreneur
Born: September 22nd, 1956 (age 60)
Scott Smith brings a history of financial work on Wall Street and experience running his own businesses to the presidential race. He has built an impressive number of companies from the ground up in a diverse range of industries, including agriculture, education, and technology, as well as his field of expertise, finance. He was extremely active in business during the 1990's, when he developed a model of conduit financing for real estate mortgages that was later adopted by many large corporations. Following this, he started a firm that worked with the Redevelopment Program of Nelson Mandela, helping to house around 11,000 families around Soweto. He also founded Kidz Magazine in 1995, a publication relying on user-generated content and which eventually saw consumption in 30 countries. Smith also enjoys art as a hobby, and is given to painting galaxies in his spare time.
With his finance and business background, Scott Smith's proposals focus almost exclusively on the economy, and many of his ideas are far-right to the point of dubiousness. He commits to completely eliminating income taxes, submitting that the economic position of income is miniscule in comparison to that of financial settlements, which he wishes to tax instead. By switching to this model, he optimistically proposes that it would be possible to balance the budget without reducing spending, while a private citizen earning $50,000 annually would pay only about $50 in tax.
Another of Smith's ambitious plans is to pay off the entire national debt within 5 years. He proposes to accomplish this through “coupon stripping”, or settling outstanding debt by issuing new money to cover the balances. While this would flood the economy with additional currency, Smith insists the results would not be inflationary, because the new money generates no interest while interest-bearing securities such as treasury bonds damage and devalue the dollar.
Smith's promises are extremely attractive, especially to people of a fiscally conservative bent. However, his nigh-outlandish economic claims risk inspiring incredulity in voters, which could cause people to simply not believe him despite his knowledge and experience on the subject. Ultimately, whether his proposals are rooted in solid economics or subscribe to the pie-in-the-sky level of dreaming of which many will undoubtedly accuse them, Scott Smith will sink or swim based on their perception, not their reality.