There is no alternative to UBI
You are correct that there is no real alternative to UBI. Everything else is wishful thinking. That this will be hard for many people to accept is certain. Most of the assumptions made about income and poverty are provable false but they have been driven into people to justify the gross income distribution imbalance. The response to the standard mindset was excellent. We have been operating for close to two hundred years with capitalist assumptions that, whatever their value previously, are no longer relevant.
The largest issue, however, is the assumption of that other people must lose for me to win. That is what is used to drive people to mythical visions of poor or ethnically different people “stealing” their jobs or their rightful income. That has been maintained by using failed standards such at GDP. A growing range of countries are looking at this and factoring in quality of life and happiness. In the US we’ve been living for decades with forced misery that keeps our suicide rate as high as it is. UBI can help correct that. People normally do many things for the pleasure of doing them from coaching kids’ soccer to volunteering in retirement communities. That can become the most rewarding part of many lives with UBI.
The last point I would make is more important. There are better ways than the old graduated income tax to fund UBI. While a significant share would come from taxation than plays into the false idea of taking someone else’s pie. What has been missed is the errors that have been made in valuing the resources of the planet. UBI doesn’t have to work as “wage” but is better understood as an asset share that funds each citizen. By being a citizen you earn interest on our national assets including all productivity. No one in this country seems upset with the very rich living off of income from capital assets even if those are inherited. It is possible to use a number of techniques to award shares of our national asset to each citizen at birth which produces their UBI. In fact that would logically move up or down in value depending on the overall productivity of the metropolitan or regional unit. Of nation if we maintain those. I think that is a better way to approach UBI as it suggests what you make is based on what you own.