I’m a big fan of UBI, but here’s some better math for you. A quick perusal of the budget finds about 2.5 trillion allotted to various welfary things, including EBT, Social Security, and Medicaid. The premise of UBI should start as government efficiency: Instead of massive bureaucracies and central planners trying to tweak things to be “just right” in terms of social programs, we just expand Social Security to become UBI. We then trust the citizens to spend that on their health, education, housing, and food just like we trust Social Security recipients to do so, today. Yes, there is a tiny fraction that is incapable, but that is a story for another day. The vast majority can take care of themselves if you just hand them the check.
As to paying for it, an income tax is foolishness. You touch on “automation,” so you clearly understand that “income” is an obsolete tax framework the more people become unemployed. Corporations should pay a B2B tax: Whenever there is a corporate transaction, a tiny tax is taken out. In this way, as automated trucks back up to Amazon’s automated warehouses for routing to driverless FedEx trucks, taxes get paid along the supply chain. This form of tax scales with the coming automated economy freeing humans from the “you must have a job” ethic that is toxic to the automation economy.
As these phases progress, the income tax and our crazy, twisty tax code become more standardized (and less political). Also, our crazy, twisty welfare state starts to resemble something giving a dignified life to future humans instead of point solutions like HUD, EBT, or Medicaid.
Good start, though. ;-)