11 US cities are piloting Universal Basic Income programs, with more to come

Dunn already addressed that:

Whenever someone asks, “Yeah but how do we pay for it?” I point them Raising the Floor: How a Universal Basic Income Can Renew Our Economy and Rebuild the American Dream by former SEIU President Andy Stern, which actually does all the math for you and lays out 7 different plausible funding scenarios.

I couldn’t find a list of the seven scenarios he lays out, but here’s a summary of Stern’s views:

Paying everyone and not just a select few is likely to make the system more popular and longer-lasting. Society as a whole should benefit as workers will be more readily able to change jobs or take on new pursuits. But how would we pay for this? $1,000 a month for everyone would cost approximately $2.7 trillion annually, which represents around four to five times the size of the defense budget and 15 percent of the GDP. In his book, Stern proposed paying for the $2.7 trillion as follows:

  • Cancel most existing antipoverty programs, which cost about $1 trillion a year, including food stamps ($76 billion a year), housing assistance ($49 billion), and the Earned Income Tax Credit ($82 billion)
  • Cut military spending
  • Phase out most tax expenditures (tax breaks), which currently cost $1.2 trillion a year
  • Implement a federal sales tax and a financial transaction tax
  • Establish a collective wealth fee and “Sky Trust” modeled after the highly successful Alaska Permanent Fund, which could pay a dividend of $5,000 per person annually

One can take issue with the benefits and likelihood of this scheme’s elements, but I don’t see any proposed cuts to benefits supporting the disabled and elderly (not that conservatives have ever worried about doing those things when they’ve been in power).