Ben, props for framing both sides of the argument. One doesn’t see a lot of that.
I have yet to hear the problem that UBI is supposed to solve. Income inequality is a statistic about a population, not a problem any particular person has. “Addressing the impacts of automation” doesn’t identify a problem either.
While it’s true that UBI could be more efficient to administer than the scattershot collection of 80-odd aid programs Washington runs today, no one has proposed axing the Special Milk Program (budget code 12–3502–0–1–605/3.02), nor the School Breakfast program (12–3539–0–1–6050/1.91), nor even the Native American Housing Block Grants program (86–0313–0–1–604). Do I even need to mention Social Security or Medicaid?
If politicians’ incentives favored rationalizing these programs, they would have done so long ago. Until someone goes on the record with plans to end specific programs, promises of UBI replacing any are fake news.
The other arguments in favor of it are equally counterfactual. Experiments have shown UBI doesn’t fire entrepreneurial spirits, it relieves people of the burden of working, so they cut back on their hours.
Would UBI ensure people have enough money to pay the bills? Of course not—listen to Dave Ramsey’s show for a better understanding why that is.