So I glanced through the article and it seems to me that they're making a few bad assumptions about UBI to arrive to their conclusion. One is that they're saying it's bad because it's not tied to working like most existing social programs and there's little experience from social systems that are not tied to work. However the very reason the western world will need UBI or something like it in the close future is that across the board the western countries are facing a situation were automation is making many, many jobs obsolote and the rate at which these technologies create new jobs do not match that. It is pretty much agreed by economists at this point that a 100 % or close to a 100 % employment is an impossibility when you start seeing jobs such as driving and data-entry etc. disappear in the coming decades.
Secondly about the cost: they're saying that the cost of 219 billion would be too much, but really, it's not if you actually started making sure the companies and super-rich paid what they're supposed to. Look at the corporate tax revenue for example, in 2014 you got around 320 billion dollars out of it. However, we know that the effective tax-rates of corporations are far below the nominal 35 %, at 27,1 % because many corporations pay nothing or close to nothing in taxes.
Just by making sure corporations actually paid the required 35 % instead of the 27,1, you'd get an extra 95,5 billion. And we're not even talking about raising the taxes, this is the amount you're currently missing by allowing corporations dodge taxes. and that alone would fund nearly half of the program.
Then if you look at the state of the estate tax:
A simple calculation shows that our estate tax system is broken. Assets that are passed to relatives or other personal relations are often badly misvalued relative to what they cost on an open market. The total wealth of American households is estimated at more than $60 trillion. It is heavily concentrated in very few hands. A conservative estimate given the lifespans of Americans would be that 2 percent ($1.2 trillion) is passed down each year, mostly from the very rich. Yet estate and gift taxes raise less than $12 billion, or just 1 percent of this figure each year.
So you're essentially taxing 1 % of the 1,2 trillion dollars that gets passed down from generation to generation every year. This is insane. The whole point of the estate tax is to try and prevent income inequality from exploding since wealth once accumulated can create more wealth for its holder without the holder having to do any work for it. As an example say someone who is 35 inherits say 6 million today. Let's suppose he's not some financial genius but simply puts it to some safe index fund to sit and generate profit, let's assume 5 % PA, and let's also assume the guy in question pays his taxes, which for long therm investments at that size would be 20 % if I've read the US tax code correctly (and do correct me if I'm wrong), and after that spends half the profit he makes on living, buying things etc... so the total profit he'd be making every year after taxes and living expenses is 5 % * 0,8 * 0,5 = 2 %.
The average life expectancy in the US is about 79 years, so let's assume a period of 44 years from 35 to death. At 2 % a year, this comes down to 11,72 million dollars that's left in the fund, and this figure obviously does not include all the assets and mansions the guy has bought with the yearly ever increasing half of his profits I've assumed above, so in reality the wealth to be inherited is even greater than 11,72 million, that's just the cash.
This is the reason the estate/inheritance taxes are important when you have as much super-concentrated wealth as you do in the states and many western countries.
If you gathered the proper amount of corporate taxes, and you taxed inherited wealth at say 20 % instead of the effective 1 that you're doing now, you'd easily afford the kind of universal basic income discussed in the argument, and as a result the kids of the guy above would inherit 'only' 9,4 million instead of the 11,64 million they'd be getting going by the effective 1 % real rate. Note that the actual estate tax they're supposed to pay is 40 % (again, if I've interpreted the tax-code correctly) so you could in fact lower the estate tax to half and still be able to fund UBI just so long as you make sure people actually pay it.
This is of course all very generalized, but my point is: the US could afford a lot of things if you started to pay attention to the way your taxes are collected. You're currently allowing for wealth to keep concentrating on the hands of ever fewer and fewer people and corporations and quite openly allowing them to dodge taxes. These instances can more than afford to pay for a basic income model without it significantly affecting their profits, and I think they should. You're the richest country per capita on the planet, of course you can afford these systems and the only people who will be affected will be the people who may not be able to buy their 6th mansion because they had to pay slightly more taxes on their insane fortunes.