Proposal: When the US per capita hits $60,000 in a year or two (we're currently nearing $58k), abolish the entire old tax system, state, local and federal. Instead, put in a 20% sales tax, a flat tax for everyone.
Out of these $12,000 in taxes per person, split the revenue in two. $6,000 goes to covering the most immediate necessities of government, as determined by the people in their respective locales, $2,000 for local government, $2,000 for state government, and $2,000 for federal government. The remaining $6,000 goes to a universal basic income, paid out in terms of $500 a month, in perpetuum.
Current taxes are much higher than 20% in America, so no one can complain that they would be 'giving money away to slackers.' They'd actually be keeping more of their money than ever before.
In addition, no one can complain that government wouldn't be able to afford a military or whatever, because half of government revenue is still available for the military or whatever random priority people want.
Simultaneously, we could accommodate the reality of poverty and unemployment in America. There simply aren't enough real jobs to employ our population with the skill levels they have or could possibly attain. Automation will continue to decrease the number of real jobs in this country for the foreseeable future. If you think the situation is bad now, just wait ten years. Driverless cars alone will unemploy millions.
If everyone had a steady income, there would be more reason for marriage to occur. And if government benefits were not handed out directly to unwed mothers, but instead to the responsible and irresponsible alike, there would be less benefit to being irresponsible and more benefit to being responsible. This would decrease the illegitimacy rate, the divorce rate, and the crime rate. It would increase fertility for higher IQ sections of society, who have held off on children for lack of financial security. It would also decrease drug and alcohol rates, as people who are married, with children, and a steady income, are much happier and have much more to live for.
A balanced budget amendment could require that spending never exceeds tax revenue, so 'indirect taxation via inflation' would also not be a fear.
$6,000 a year is enough to live by, but isn't very luxurious. If people can find a useful job, even with this money in their pocket, they most likely will go out and get one in order to earn more. Therefore, no decrease in productivity will occur.
People do not need makework to enjoy their lives. The nobility of ancient Europe enjoyed their leisure time vociferously, as did the ancient greeks who spent all their off time debating philosophy together. Leisure is a gift, not a curse, and the entertainment world has ample good products to occupy any amount of it. There is never a lack of things to do in this world, all of which are better than unproductive, meaningless, toilsome, painful, tiring work. No one wants to work under someone else, we want to be sovereign and independent free spirits, even having a boss is demeaning to the human spirit. No one is yearning for the privilege of serfdom/slavery. The idea that people desire crappy jobs, or somehow need them in order to better themselves, is utter nonsense.
This proposal is flawless and it's ridiculous that we haven't implemented this solution to all our woes ages ago.
Once the economy booms due to the now low tax rates, low government spending, low government interference in the market, etc, we can increase the spending on government and the basic income (in the same proportion) while maintaining the exact same 20% tax rate. Everyone will flourish forever.