From a Bloomberg News article quoting Thomas Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics who favors a 75% tax in incomes above 1 million Euros:
"The idea that we need to pay people many millions of euros per year to get them to work harder is just crazy," Piketty said in a telephone interview.
It's not "we" who are paying them. It's employers or customers or directors engaged in voluntary transactions that they are free to either participate in or not participate in. Now, you can complain that the directors on the compensation committee are too cozy with the executives, and that both are too cozy with the compensation consultants, and that complaint may in some cases even be true, but if you think that, no one is forcing you to buy stock in the company. In other cases, like professional athletes or movie stars, it is the game audiences and movie ticket buyers who, with their demand, are helping to set the pay via the sports team owners and movie producers. Again, no one is forcing anyone to watch the ballgame or to go to the movie. If Professor Piketty thinks the salaries are out of line, he has options other than confiscatory taxation. He can just stay home and turn off the television.