Scott Smith for President Campaign Begins in High School Classroom

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Presidential hopeful Scott Smith presents powerful economic solutions to the sophomore class of Peak to Peak Charter School. Smith seeks to replace the income tax with a financial settlements tax, a revolutionary update to the U.S. economy simple enough for anyone to understand.

When a political nobody runs for President of the United States, where does he begin? For 2016 independent candidate Scott Smith, the answer is: in a high school classroom. The Scott Smith for President campaign kicked off early last week when Smith addressed the sophomore class of Peak to Peak Charter School, a school co-founded by Smith.

Smith, a long-time entrepreneur with a background in Wall Street finance, believes his solutions are simple enough for anyone to understand. Smith’s platform centers around the Financial Settlements Tax (FST), a radical adjustment to the U.S. tax system that will, Smith believes, generate a half-trillion budget surplus annually. “My solutions are good news to both conservatives and liberals,” Smith told over 100 students Monday morning. “The fact is, income tax hurts everyone.”

To illustrate the idea behind the FST, Smith drew a small circle on the classroom whiteboard and labeled it “Income.” “Right now,” Smith explained, “all of the money to pay for our government comes from one pool: income.” Smith then drew a much larger circle around the first, labeling it “Financial Settlements.” “But for every one hundred thousand dollars in income, there are thirty million dollars in untaxed financial settlements.”

Smith asked students to think of examples of financial settlements. “Trading stock,” one student offered. “Buying groceries,” another suggested. “Exactly,” Smith replied. “A financial settlement occurs any time money changes hands. If we taxed financial settlements instead of income, our tax rate could be much, much lower: a tenth of one percent. That means for every $1,000 deposited in an account, only $1 would be removed.”

One student raised her hand. “If you tax that little, how are you going to balance the budget?” Smith explained that the amount of financial settlements occurring annually in the U.S. (nearly $4,500 trillion) far outweighs the amount earned in income ($15 trillion). “So much money changes hands every day, we would only need to shave off a tiny fraction of each transaction—0.1%—to completely eliminate the deficit.” “Why wouldn’t people do it, then?” another student wanted to know.

Smith responded with a personal illustration. “When I first approached Wall Street with the idea of conduit financing, no one would listen. It took me two and a half years of knocking on doors to find one investor. Soon every investment bank on Wall Street had a conduit program. No one recognizes a good idea at first. You have to fight for it.”

At the end of his forty-minute presentation, Smith suggested a dialogue between students, a learning technique frequently employed by Peak to Peak teacher Laura Copeland. “Whoever thinks we should keep income tax, move to the right side of the room. Whoever prefers the FST, move to the left. Then we’ll state our different views.” Chairs scraped as students stood, and within moments every student stood on the same side of the room—in support of the FST. Smith smiled. “I guess there’s no one to debate.”

Smith believes that young people understand the burden of income tax more than most. As college tuition increases and starting salaries shrink, students nationwide are looking for real solutions. One sophomore, Abbey, expressed her concern: “One of the main worries for our generation is, how are we going to pay for college?” Classmate Molly agreed: “It’s harder to get a job than ever! It [the FST] would help us out a lot.” Smith encouraged students to start a dialogue among friends and with parents. “You guys carry more weight than you think,” Smith said. “Get the word out! We want everyone to be asking the question, ‘Why aren’t we doing this?’”

Smith’s book A Nobody for Everybody in 2016: My Platform for the Presidency is written for the common reader and outlines his four primary solutions for the economy: the FST, Banking 2.0, Coupon Stripping, and Stimulus Payments. Smith explains the basics of his campaign in the following interview:

To schedule a speaking event with Smith, visit

By Marie Campbell

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