So Eisinger’s question is reasonable: Why does a guy who clearly understands the economics of debt, who has loaded up companies with double-digit-interest-rate debt, not think that you should borrow when people will pay you to take their money?

With investors clamoring to have the U.S. government borrow their money at negative real interest, Romney, erstwhile debt-lover and investor, wants the U.S. to shun debt and investment. Eisinger:

L.B.O. firms certainly never think of debt as immoral. When the borrowing is good, private equity is going to grab the money. When Mr. Romney rails against debt, he is running away from his entire career in business.

Which is worth more exploration at the intersection of Washington and Wall Street reporting.

On the other hand, the CBO says Romney’s budget plan would add $180 billion more to the debt in 2015 than current policy would and $600 billion more than the baseline would. Maybe Romney hasn’t kicked the debt habit after all.


Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.