The idea has some merit, especially the aspect of eliminating all other subsidies. But here in the U.S. entitlement reform always meets hard core resistance. What we would end up with is a system of universal income AND subsidies.
And that's what the Finland test involves: A basic income as well as continuation of the already generous benefits. See What If Everyone Got a Monthly Check From the Government?
The experiment in Finland isn't over, but the brains behind it are losing interest. It's too expensive -- already high taxes would go even higher. From the article:
The wealthiest would be relatively unaffected by such a change because their taxes are already high, but a swath of middle- and upper-middle-class Finns would pay more in taxes than they’d get back in basic income. In national polls, when the possibility of a 55 percent flat tax was raised, the percentage of Finns who supported basic income dropped from 70 to about 30. “We would need to implement another study for the whole population to understand it,” says Miska Simanainen, a tax specialist who was part of Kangas’s team. No such studies are planned.
The biggest revelation from the article was that Milton Friedman may have actually supported a universal basic income in some form or other.
If it could be done right, i.e., the stipend for everyone but nothing else on top of that, it just might be affordable.
2:38 PM 1/11/2018