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The Reckoning by David Halberstam

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12. FORD GOES PUBLIC

THE FORD FAMILY IN the days after World War II was both rich and impoverished. It was caught in a dilemma caused by the original Henry Ford’s will. The old man had hated the government, hated taxes, hated banks. He wanted very much to keep the company in the family. If he had left the stock to his grandchildren, it would have effectively terminated family ownership, for the young Fords would have had to sell so much stock to pay their inheritance taxes that their hold on the company would have been shaky. In order to beat inheritance taxes the old man had created a foundation, the Ford Foundation, and had given it most of the stock; the family got a much smaller percentage—only 5 percent of the equity in the company. The ...

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