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WaPo op-ed: Why isn’t Romney richer?

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By Doug Powers  •  October 7, 2012 10:03 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

First Mitt Romney didn’t pay any taxes. Then after it was proven he did, he paid too much. Now, after being made out as a super-rich corporate fat cat, it’s being asked why Romney isn’t wealthier. The title of an op-ed in the Washington Post gives birth to a possible new angle of attack: Mitt Romney is worth $250 million. Why so little?

Mitt Romney is indisputably a very rich man. And if he is elected president on Nov. 6, he will become one of the wealthiest people ever to hold the office.

But exactly how wealthy is Romney? The figure that gets tossed around is $250 million in net worth — meaning the total value of his assets, financial and others, minus any debts.

Mitt Romney’s $250 million net worth is much smaller than that of the other big players in the private-equity and leveraged buyout business, as listed in the latest Forbes 400 list of the richest people in America.

It’s a big number, but frankly, it seems low. Given the industry in which he made his fortune (private equity), the era when he made it (the 1980s and 1990s) and the wealth of his peers in that business (mostly billionaires), Romney should be worth a good bit more than that.

Why isn’t he?

Scandal!

A handy graphic accompanies the op-ed so we can see what a loser Romney is compared to others in his field:

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Maybe the comparison we’re supposed to draw is this: if we were to make a similar chart featuring the net worth of big players in the community organizing business, I’m guessing Barack Obama would be one of the wealthier if not the wealthiest in the group. Why is Mitt Romney such a failure in his chosen profession?

The conclusion? You guessed it: “Because Romney should be richer but isn’t, is he qualified to lead on the economy”?

Does it really matter if Romney is worth $250 million, $1 billion or more? Rich is rich after all, right? I think it does, politically as well as substantively.

Politically, the alternatives are not great. If he were perceived as the first real billionaire to run for president, it would only exacerbate popular doubts about how someone living so removed from the concerns of average Americans — or even just 47 percent of them — could effectively represent them.

And if he is not a billionaire, doesn’t it suggest that he was not a great private-equity investor after all, thus torpedoing his claim to understand how to create jobs and get the economy back on track?

Something to keep in mind on Nov. 6.

In the coming days be on the lookout for part two in this series of devastating op-eds that will attempt to answer a question that’s been on all our minds for the past few days: Why isn’t Mitt Romney a better debater?

(h/t Ace of Spades)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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Categories: 2012 Campaign, Campaign finance, Politicians

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