More importantly, though, while relatively low basic benefits could make the system affordable, they would not be politically stable. There would be pressure to layer a benefits system on top of the UBI, or to increase the UBI. It does not seem plausible that any government would be able to withstand the likely months’ long John Campbell campaign that would, every day, highlight a different family whose benefits were cut under the shift to a UBI. We would quickly have a welfare system layered on top of a UBI, increasing the costs while eroding the UBI’s benefits.I could imagine pushing a button for a low UBI replacing existing income support programmes, combined with generous tax credits for contributions to charities that work to plug remaining gaps. But that button doesn't exist, and even if it did, it wouldn't be politically stable. You would have, every night, John Campbell featuring some family that has been made worse off. Because that is what John Campbell does, and because there is a market for those stories. Even if charitable support programmes were ramping up and would be more effective in the long run, the political constraint would bind. And then we wind up with UBI plus existing welfare.
Over at The Sandpit, I note a few additional problems that John Gibson raises: