Emily Hughes arrived on The Mountain with a proposal that has caught the attention of delegates around the country. To bring attention to the ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor, Hughes sets forth a radical plan to balance out the classes: a simple coin toss.

Hughes is a Michigan delegate with high hopes to bridge the gap between the wealthiest people in America and those struggling to scrap together pennies, bringing attention to her cause with a flip of a coin. Hughes’ Proposal 94 provides that any individual in the top 1 percent of wealth can be challenged to a coin toss by any individual in the bottom 50 percent. If the initiator of the coin toss wins, the individual from the top one percent must pay $10,000. If the individual from the top one percent wins, they owe the challenger nothing.

“A lot of people are shocked by the whole coin thing,” Hughes said. “I just want people to be aware of how much money is in the top one percent and how their money could change so many lives in America.”

Emily by Erin

Emily Hughes, MI, draws attention to the wealth gap. PHOTO by Erin Gretzinger, WI

The idea for her proposal rose out of personal hardship, research and a desire for change. Hughes comes from a house that has always been tight on money. Motivated by this, Hughes began to explore equality in wealth in America, and she was shocked by what she discovered. While the top 1 percent spend money on golden toothpicks and shoelaces, Americans below the poverty line struggle to survive. The stories she found struck a chord in her, and her mission became to spread awareness of the wealth gap growing right underneath our noses.

While she recognizes her proposal is not practical, she encourages delegates to look beyond the coin toss at the issue at hand.

“There was a moment yesterday where people said, ‘I didn’t know they let jokes into CONA,’ and I want to get across that it is not a joke. I want people to realize how important this wealth gap is,” Hughes said. “It is a system that is definitely broken and it needs a little bit of oil to fix it.”

Whether the proposal moves on is not her objective, but rather to tell the story of Americans living in poverty and entice others to take a stand on the issue. Hughes hopes the people at this conference can provide the oil to get a solution to the wealth gap rolling.  

By Erin Gretzinger, WI