Is there something you know that we don't know? Is there something you'd like to share with us, the people who may (or may not) have elected you to your present office?
Should we be concerned about the economy? Should we sell our stocks now, while there is still time?
I say this because you're holding a lot of cash. I can't tell exactly, of course, but it's somewhere between $9 million and $43 million. It's a very large part of your net worth, which others have estimated between $20 million and $69 million.
I learned about the cash while reading your public financial disclosure report, filed May 15th. It tells me what we already knew--- that with your retirement from Halliburton, you're a rich man. But it also tells me that you have the bulk of your money in cash. Not stocks. Plain old cash, as though you were waiting for something to happen.
Something really bad.
The report tells me you've got four checking accounts, including a joint account with somewhere between $1 million and $5 million in it. It's really good to know that you'll be able to handle your electric bill this summer, Mr. Vice President.
The report also tells me you've got another 11 accounts that are invested in money market mutual funds. That's a lot of money market funds. Of course, I don't know exactly how much cash you've got because the report has those funny ranges. Like somewhere between $1 million and $5 million in both the Calvert Tax Free money market fund and the Calvert Tax Free Limited Term fund. Or somewhere between $5 million to $25 million being held in a Paine Webber cash account.
That's a lot of between.
Of course, after the performance of your retirement accounts last year I can see why you might have a lot of money in cash. With your two qualified accounts spread over 11 funds from American Express, last fall must have been pretty tough on you. I did a Morningstar analysis of the portfolio--- approximated, of course--- and it showed that the worst time in the last three years for your retirement portfolio was last year, between September and November. You lost about 15 percent of your retirement plan assets just before the election. Add the election, the chads, and all that weird stuff in Florida and you were probably more miserable than the rest of us.
Nor have things gotten better since. So far this year only two of your eleven mutual funds have had a positive return. The rest have lost money in amounts ranging from the 0.30 percent for AXP Utilities Income A shares to a more painful loss of 13.46 percent for AXP International A shares. Your biggest fund holding, AXP New Dimensions, is off 8 percent in the first four months and 19.14 percent in the preceding 12 months.
Worse, your funds are second-rate performers. Over the last three years, for instance, only one fund has ranked in the top 25 percent of its peer group and another has ranked in the second 25 percent of its peer group. The remaining nine funds have ranked well below the 50th percentile, with 5 in the bottom twenty-five percent. The percentile figures are in the table below. Just because you play second fiddle as vice president doesn't mean your retirement portfolio should be that way.
The Cheney Retirement Portfolio
|Fund Name||Morningstar 3 Year Percentile Rank|
|AXP Blue Chip Advantage A||74th|
|AXP Extra Income A||67th|
|AXP Federal Income A||88th|
|AXP Global Bond A||61st|
|AXP Global Growth A||77th|
|AXP Growth A||84th|
|AXP International A||90th|
|AXP Managed Allocation A||82nd|
|AXP New Dimensions A||17th|
|AXP Research Opportunities A||61st|
|AXP Utilities Income A||33rd|
Sources: Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure Report; MorningstarAll of which brings me back to the real question. If you really think the tax cut is going to get the economy moving, why all the cash?