Star Wars Creator George Lucas Says Raising Taxes on People Making Over $250,000 Won't Help Economy

By Nicholas Ballasy | February 19, 2009 | 6:47 PM EST

( - Film director George Lucas of the famed “Star Wars” series said capping the salaries of CEOs at $500,000 a year as part of the $700 billion financial bailout is a decision that rests with stockholders, not with the government. Lucas also said he does not make that much money each year as a CEO, nor would he pay anyone that amount.
The highly successful movie-maker further said that President Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on people making $250,000 or more a year will not help the economy.

“Well, the difference is Hollywood isn’t asking for a bailout,” Lucas said in reference to capping CEO salaries. “So, you know, they are not using taxpayer money, and obviously the cornerstone of American capitalism is that you can make as much money as you want when you work for a company.

“I think it would be a good thing for shareholders to unite and say, ‘We are not interested in paying our executives this much money.’ That would work. But it’s not the government’s job to do that. It’s the stockholders job, but of course, they don’t seem to mind [Obama capping bank CEO salaries]. I’m not sure why. I wouldn’t pay somebody that much money.”

Lucas said he does not make $500,000 per year as the CEO of Lucasfilm Ltd.

“I don’t make that much money – not by a long shot,” he said.

“$500,000 a year – man, that’s a lot of money. You know? I have to make a nickel at a time,” he said. “You know, I have to have people come to the movies, and then when they go to the movies, I get my nickel. I don’t get a giant salary.”

Lynn Hale, senior director of public relations for Lucasfilm Ltd., told that
George Lucas’ comments about his salary were in reference to “the fact that his salary for running the company is not high.”

“He makes money when he directs a film,” said Hale. “Then, if the film makes money, then he makes money, and the money that the company makes is poured back into the company and used to finance things like games, T.V. shows and things like that.

“George’s philosophy has always been that compensation is contingent on performance,” said Hale.

Lucas also told that raising taxes would not help the economy, because “bad mortgages” are at the heart of the financial crisis.

“No. You know, the problem is very intricate. It really has to do with bad mortgages,” said Lucas. “Until they solve the problem with bad mortgages and toxic funds, they are not going to solve anything. So, they can do whatever they want, but basically, this is a problem that was created in the last eight years, and it’s not going to go away overnight.

“If I were in charge, I’d have them buy up the toxic waste,” he said. “You know, just like we did back when the savings and loans fiasco happened.”