Arthur Drew was born in the state of Pennsylvania, in a rural farming and industrial community. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the US Air Force, where he attended college while stationed in Washington state. He was also deployed for about a year to Vietnam. When his service was finished, he entered the private sector, initially focusing on aviation but eventually settling into the electrical servicing and manufacturing industry, in which he owned his own business.
Running as an Independent, Drew is critical of both Republican and Democratic policies, and he frequently speaks against President Obama's initiatives. He challenges the President's assertion that unemployment has dropped by nearly half since 2009, saying that their calculations flagrantly ignore those who have given up finding a job, and were made entirely for political gain. He also accuses the administration, and for that matter every administration and Congress in recent memory, of having service to corporate sector profits as their one and only goal.
Drew blames the phenomenon of outsourcing for the decline in American employment and the stagnation of domestic wages. He proposes the imposition of penalties on businesses that outsource labor overseas, with an emphasis on ensuring that these penalties cost more than a firm stands to save by shipping the jobs away. He also suggests using lower taxes, reduced interest loans, and other incentives to encourage companies to do business in the United States.
While he is sympathetic to environmental concerns and supports the Environmental Protection Agency's overall mission, Drew criticizes that agency's overly complex regulations, calling them confusing and saying they could leave private land owners unaware of whether they need to seek permits to modify their property. He calls for stronger oversight of the EPA to reduce its bureaucracy and provide clear, simple guidelines.
Drew is cautious on foreign policy, questioning American involvement in the Middle East and specifically against the terrorist group ISIS. He says that President Obama's commitment to help fight that organization will be felt well into his successor's administration, and he cautions that America's military should instead be used to secure the border at home.
Drew's strategy of using tax incentives to stimulate domestic business and industry is a conservative trait, while his support for government agencies like the EPA and his careful approach toward foreign policy are more leftist. As a result, most of his support is likely to be found among those in the center, who avoid politically veering far onto either side of the spectrum.
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.