Snow Days
A Basic Income Blizzard
Snow Days
By Matt Orfalea /

Give everyone $1,000/month. It’s called Unconditional Basic Income.

Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for a Basic Income as an effective way to eliminate poverty. So did free market capitalist, Milton Friedman. Nowadays the idea has become mainstream, being discussed in literally every major news outlet (New York TimesThe Atlantic, Washington Post— just to name a few). Of course the question that immediately comes to mind is, if everyone is guaranteed money every month…“Why would anybody work?”

Let’s answer that question, using a case study, many of us have been a part of: Snow Days. Most people are not required to go to work on snow days. But most of us do work anyway. Because (1) we need to, (2) we want to, and (3) we want to make money.


When I woke up to 2 feet of snow Saturday, I had to shovel my way out of my house. Nobody paid me to do it. I needed to. Our lives are loaded with such work (cooking, cleaning, care-taking). A minimal basic income would not disincentivize us from the most important work there is: Work we need to do.


As I began shoveling, I decided to continue through the rest of the block. I figured I’d have to walk back through this all week. It was in my interest (and others) for me to do it. So I did.

People enjoy work for exercise (physical or mental), self satisfaction, and a desire to help or receive recognition from others. Such motives drive everything from creative tasks like video making, to repetitive tasks like snow shoveling.


A middle aged man asked if I was shoveling houses for money. I explained I wasn’t, just on my way to the neighbor’s. He pointed out this storm was only gonna get worse and people could really use the help. My income could also really use some help, so I seriously considered it as I began shoveling the rest of the block. But then a man at the top of the street hollered at me, “Don’t worry about it!” The man had a snow blower.

The man had a snow blower

One man with a blower accomplished in 1 hour what would have normally required the work of an entire block of families. I’m a young, able-bodied, hard worker. But I could not have gotten a job shoveling even if I wanted to. (At least not on a block with a blower machine). This brings up another big argument for Basic Income: technological unemployment.

There is technology, like the snow blower, making jobs obsolete, in nearly every industry. I’ve come to the scary realization that every job I’ve ever had will become automated or obsolete. And so, Basic Income is not only moral, as an ethical solution to poverty. Basic Income is practical. Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, explains in his new book, “Saving Capitalism”, that we are on track to a future where nobody will be able to afford anything. “Because there will be no jobs.”

We are automating everything about jobs, except the main reason we invented jobs in the first place: our basic human survival.

So let’s do that. Let’s automate bare bones economic survival. We will still be motivated to earn more money, we will continue to do creative innovative work because we want to, and we will continue to do the work that needs to be done. Because we need to. So don’t worry about that. Worry about how you’re gonna keep a roof over your head when a snow blower comes to replace YOUR job. And then advocate for a basic income like the rest of us.

Thanks to my patrons Pedro Moriera, Waldir Pimenta, Sebastian, Arjun, Tanu Kaskinen, Zak Groner, David ‘Pug’ Anderson, Liane Gale, Andrea, Scott Santens, Mary Kay Benson, Beth Nawrocki, Mary Burke, Shawn Best, Brandy, Michelle A OHara, & Laura Ballard

0.0 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
F*ck That: A Guided Meditation for the Realities of Today's World
2 min · 11,584 views today · Just acknowledge that all that sh*t is f*cking b*llshit — you're here now, in this place, with your inner stillness. Take in a deep breath ... now breathe out. Just feel the...
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 8,108 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 7,021 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
Who I'm Voting For...
3 min · 5,423 views today · Prince Ea announces who he's voting for. It's probably not who you think.
25 Mind-Twisting Optical Illusion Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Dovas · 3,960 views today · The beautiful and mind-bending illusions in Canadian artist Robert Gonsalves’ paintings have a fun way of twisting your perception and causing you to question what in his...
Free Trade Explained In An Excellent Comic
Michael Goodwin, Illustrated by Dan E. Burr · 3,929 views today · The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) are the latest in a long line...
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 2,846 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
Open Up - Have the Difficult But Important Conversations With Loved Ones
5 min · 2,502 views today · “The biggest casualty of humanity is the lack of communication, it’s the thing that breaks most relationships. It just feels so much better to talk and get it out.” There is...
#Hypernormalisation - Why Heathrow Plan Is Proof We Exist in a Catastrophic Fantasyland
Matthew Adams · 2,214 views today · The British government recently gave the green light for Heathrow airport’s third runway. It was heralded by its supporters as a vital boost for jobs and growth – and proof...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,544 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 1,476 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
The Empire Vs. The People - Police Attack and Arrest Peaceful Protestors at the Dakota Access Pipeline
6 min · 1,430 views today · On October 22, just before dawn, hundreds of people, including many families, gathered and prepared to march toward the Dakota Access pipeline construction site near Standing...
'Maritime Graveyard': 2016 Deadliest Year Ever for Refugees Crossing Mediterranean
Deirdre Fulton · 1,375 views today · "From one death for every 269 arrivals last year, in 2016 the likelihood of dying has spiraled to one in 88," says UNHCR spokesman
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 1,168 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
The Burden of the New Story
Adebayo Akomolafe · 1,095 views today · The 'new story' - that longed for milieu when all is right with the world and things are set straight - seems to be taking its sweet time coming. Why?
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 715 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Ode to Lesvos
5 min · 690 views today · An inspiring story of a few remarkable heroes on the Island of Lesvos who helped almost half a million refugees in 2015 has been documented in a new short film called Ode to...
These Incredible Stories Remind Us of Our Better Selves
36 min · 687 views today · #WhoWeAre is a campaign to share the stories of people whose actions show us compassion and to send a message of empathy, hope and optimism. These videos will automatically...
HyperNormalisation (2016)
161 min · 470 views today · We live in a time of great uncertainty and confusion. Events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control. Donald Trump, Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless...
No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire
Jake Johnson · 426 views today · When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things. One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Snow Days