Republican Senate Nominee Who Thinks Government Shouldn’t Borrow Has Personal Debt

Senate nominee Gabriel Gomez (R-MA)

Senate nominee Gabriel Gomez (R-MA)

Gabriel Gomez, the Republican nominee to fill John Kerry’s open Senate seat in Massachusetts, is running on a platform of Congressional reforms including a constitutional balanced budget amendment. But while he is using the recycled talking point that the federal government should model itself on businesses and families and stop spending more money than it takes in, a ThinkProgress examination of his own financial disclosure filings reveals that he has taken out debt of his own.

Gomez, a wealthy private equity investor who was paid more than $993,000 last year in salary and bonuses, won last Tuesday’s Republican primary and will face Rep. Ed Markey (D) in the June 25 Senate special election. The cornerstone of his campaign is his plan to “reboot Congress.”

In addition to proposing unconstitutional legislative measures including a line-item veto and a “No Budget No Pay” law, he suggests Congress should enact a dangerous Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. constitution.

He explains:

BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT: Massachusetts has to balance its budget, and so does every family and every business. The federal government should do the same.

Government is nothing like a business and cannot be run as one — its aim is to protect its citizens, not to turn a profit. But even businesses and individuals often borrow in the short term to make investments for the long term — mortgages, lines of credits, and other sorts of loans are facts of life for millions of Americans and businesses of all sizes. Start-up businesses rarely break even for the first several years and few people can afford to buy their first home outright or pay for their kids to go to college out of pocket.

None of this should come as news to Gomez, who himself has borrowed money. His financial disclosure form reveals that despite his massive holdings and income, he took out a student loan in 2010. The debt, currently between $50,001 and $100,000, is to be paid back over a 23-year term at a 3.5 percent interest rate.

And his former company? It’s website’s frequently asked questions section says:

Does Advent use external debt as well as equity to finance its investments?
Yes, we do use third party debt financing as well as equity to finance our investments. This is typical industry practice. However, we take a very prudent approach to the use of debt.

A 2011 study by the non-partisan Center for Budget and Policy Priorities found that a Balanced Budget Amendment could throw about 15 million more people out of work, double the unemployment rate from 9 percent to approximately 18 percent, and cause the economy to shrink by about 17 percent instead of growing by an expected 2 percent.