The failed bankers on Wall Street have been whining that if they have to cut bonuses and salaries dramatically, they'll be unable to recruit great talent, and they need great talent to fix the situation.
And for years, boards have been claiming that they need to pay CEOs $50,000,000 salaries in order to recruit the very best for their companies.
Jamie Dimon at Chase said, "It's possible someone's going to walk in my office and say, Jamie, I have a family. I can't afford to live that way."
After a million dollars or so in salary, the absolute amount that a person is paid has no real impact on their life. They can't eat more meals in a day or wear more shoes. What matters to the manager is the relative amount. How much more would I make over there? Why does that company pay its CEO more than my company pays me?
(Aside: should the guys who drive an armored car that carries millions of dollars in bonds get paid more than the guys that drive an armored car that only carries thousands of dollars in cash? Does the amount of money handled change the difficult of the work?)