Continuation of the Basic income Guarantee (BIG) chronicles. I'm thinking that all earnings should have the BIG withheld for taxes as the default, to encourage savings. One could still tweak withholding on the W-4 to collect the BIG with each paycheck (with the likelihood of having to pay at least some of it back in higher taxes due, at least for year-round, full-time workers). Savings are important for investments that create opportunities later (e.g., school, car, first/last/deposit for moving) and research has shown that people are more likely to save when they receive occasional lump sum payments than when they receive modest monthlies. Also, an important poverty-reducer is geographic mobility and savings makes it a lot easier to move. A BIG should not make it easier to live in low opportunity areas, and if doled out in bits every month, it might do that (at least for some people).
As noted in a previous post, it is unrealistic to think the BIG would be able to replace all the safety net programs. There will still be a need for social support services for a substantial number of people whose problems will not be solved by a regular basic income: homeless alcoholics and drug addicts; mentally ill folks kicked out of their places; single moms abandoned by their mates and suddenly unable to pay the rent. People will lose their jobs or their health and not have the funds to keep their homes. Sure, a BIG will help soften the blows and arrows of outrageous fortune – but bad stuff will keep happening and some of us will still need other help to get through the tough times.
But if the BIG is withheld from earnings and a crisis hits, fewer people would need emergency help from the government because they will have access to a little pot of money to get them through the rough patch.