So Heinz (NYSE:HNZ) has a 2.71 debt-to-equity ratio. Big deal. That's certainly not worrying credit rating agencies. Standard and Poor's gives it a solid "A-" -- well above the point where investors should start worrying. For perspective, my Foolish colleague W.D. Crotty could walk into a Washington Mutual (NYSE:WM) branch with 20% down and decent credit and buy an 80% home mortgage. That would give him a debt-to-equity ratio of 4 on that home, and his creditor wouldn't bat an eye. As a global leader in a stable industry, Heinz should have no trouble making its interest payments.

Thanks in large part to its leverage, Heinz's return on equity for the trailing 12 months stands at 31%, putting it ahead of such technology titans as Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) 20% and Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) 24%. In essence, Heinz's use of other people's money sets it up to potentially provide shareholders with better returns on their investments than those high-tech powerhouses.

Speaking of returns, if W.D. is acknowledging Heinz's potential 6% to 8% growth as a legitimate target, adding its nearly 3.5% dividend yield would provide investors a total return between 9.5% and 11.5%. With value-investing giant Warren Buffett's prediction of 6% stock market returns, it looks like my bearish friend is actually picking Heinz to significantly outperform the market. With bears like that, who needs bulls?

Like the idea of getting paid to invest in companies with legitimate chances to beat the market? Click here to join Motley Fool Income Investor and learn how to turbocharge your portfolio with the power of the payout.

Wait! You're not done. This is just a quarter of the Duel! Don't miss the Bull and Bear opening arguments and the Bear rebuttal. Even when you're done, you're still not done. You can vote and let us know who you think won this Duel.

At the time of publication, Fool contributor Chuck Saletta owned shares of Microsoft, a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. The Fool has adisclosure policy.