Looks like Snowden made one quick quip about basic income, and Medium took it and ran as fast as they could with it.
My sister will tell you she's a liberal. No, actually, she'll scream it. I'm not particularly fond of strong ego-involvement with major political parties, but she represents an interesting perspective. Upon broaching the subject of Unconditional Basic Income, she was offended that the movement parades under the banner of "liberalism". She sees the idea as a radically-left, obviously socialist policy that undermines moderate leftists. That'd probably make a great little soundbyte for MSNBC or NPR.
Have socialist-leaning policies worked in modern times? Kinda. The EU isn't doing so hot, but Scandinavia is more or less fine. China's kind of a "snafu", though a stable one. But UBI is a huge jump ahead of all aforementioned examples. Instituting UBI in America would have to be a process, and a long one at that. If we woke up with the policy in place tomorrow, I think almost all of your minimum wage employees wouldn't show up for work.
Actually, I thought that's exactly what we were just doing throughout the article, but uhhh, ok.
It's pretty obvious whose pockets the money will have to come from for UBI to exist. But these people, with their deep pockets, are actively making policy to retain as many pennies as possible. They don't want this. They don't want anyone talking about this. No, it will absolutely take serious social unrest before the discussion enters into the mainstream media circus. And again, it won't happen immediately or quickly. The process will be necessarily painful.
I've expressed my sentiments before, but I find Hubski naively optimistic of "people". Yes, there are people, that when presented with enough money to subsist, will choose to continue working anyway, or contribute in other ways to society. There are also people who absolutely will not. Let's just hope our growing robot work force / greater economic efficiency can pick up enough of the slack.
It is good to keep talking about this, because UBI may be inevitable, a shift that we have to make for society to continue operating. Still, imagining it as written law today doesn't give me warm and fuzzies, not without some serious stipulations unmentioned in the Medium article.
Edit: To you, Cadell, if you have the time -
Everything I argued above is assuming a strictly domestic UBI (domestic to the U.S.). If a unified global hierarchy does indeed see adoption during the 21st century, you've gotta scrape a whole lot more wealth off the top to distribute to poorer regions. This complicates things... significantly. I hope transhumanism has got some A+ solutions in its bag.