“Mitt Romney should be a billionaire,” Margaret Collins and Richard Rubin stated flatly last month in a detailed Bloomberg News examination of his wealth. Yet, when Boston Magazine listed the 50 wealthiest Bostonians in 2006, Romney, then the governor of Massachusetts, was not even on the list. His Bain partner, Steve Pagliuca, who joined the firm in 1989 (five years after Romney started it) was listed at No. 35, with a net worth of $410 million…

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?