Debt has long been a way for corporations to boost returns to shareholders, but recently debt has been shunned by corporate America. According to a recent report from JPMorgan, since 2008, the ratio of total debt to total equity on the S&P 500 has dropped from a 20-year average of 171% to just 104% in the third quarter of 2013. Companies are clutching cash and not investing it back in the business, and they certainly don't have a normal appetite for leverage. 

One of the reasons the S&P 500's debt has fallen is immense cash-generation from companies like Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). They have more cash than they know what to do with.

Erin Miller sat down with Fool contributor Travis Hoium to see why leverage is suddenly a bad word in corporate America.