The system of earning based on your performance and value to the company exists in many places. But the government both state and federal get in the way of allowing that system to prosper.
The Income Tax is one of the main causes of unequal distribution of wealth in the country. Ask yourself how did Billionaires actually get to Double their billions after 2008? It is the Internal Tax Code which gives them all sorts of loopholes, while the poor don't need tax loopholes because they really don't pay taxes outside of FICA.
In 1986 on the premise of lowering taxes for the average person, the Tax Reform Act was passed. The basic mechanism was for us to give up several of our only tax deductions in return for lower taxes. Seemed reasonable, until the taxes went up again a few years later.
To remove this inequality, we could replace the entire Federal Income Tax system with a National Sales Tax similar to those already used by the states. The Internal Revenue Code would have to be scrapped.
Don't be fooled by the unconstitutional, yet common practice of giving the rich a high marginal tax rate. The reason is the 1000s of loopholes in the Internal Revenue Code reduce the tax burden of the rich. To the point where ordinary people have been known to pay more taxes than the rich, even though their income is much smaller.
What is a basic income?
I guess one view would be something equal to or greater than what is given out as welfare. Welfare money is not taxed, and there is no FICA to pay. That means that a salary for basic income would have to include on top it the FICA and tax withholding to make the two equal.
The premise should be teaching people to fish, rather than just giving them fish. And the former needs to also include incentives to encourage the people on welfare to leave it. Now, they have to have a substantial amount more coming from a potential job to offset the costs like baby sitters etc to make the move to employment profitable and reasonable.
The current paradigm for employment is based on an incestuous model. As the manufacturing and production job long the staff of American employment left in the 1970s and continues decade after decade, we have focused employment on sales and marketing of products imported into this country.
We no longer have those kinds of jobs. Look where the big employment is today. Amazon, Google, Facebook, and social media. These are the top revenue companies in the country. What is their product? Sales and Market