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Like most Americans, I'm trying to figure out just how I'll maintain my current lifestyle under that $500,000 salary cap that the president is proposing for executives whose companies receive federal bailout money.

And this isn't just a personal concern. As compensation consultant James F. Reda told the New York Times last week, the pay limit is going to hamper executive recruiting efforts. In fact, he said, the half-million pay limit will make it "really tough to get people to staff" such positions.

While you're fighting back tears, consider this: Edward N. Wolff, an economics professor at New York University, writes in BusinessWorld that income inequality has reached an 80-year high. Which, if my history and math lessons serve, brings us back to the onset of the Great Depression.

Combine that with 7.6 percent unemployment, and let the bon ton roulet!

That brings us to this week's cover story. We're not sure if the CEO at Bank of America (which celebrated its own $25 billion handout by hosting an anti-union jamboree just three days later) has ever shoveled mountains of chicken shit, worked the graveyard shift at a porn arcade, or picked employee body parts out of a pile of roast beef but we have!

And hopefully, someday, he will too.

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