I always thought the point of the technical debt metaphor was that sometimes you deliberately go into debt because it's the right thing to do right now. The people who introduced that term were making a very clear point that never going into debt is the wrong choice, and trying to explain how sometimes optimizing for the short term totally makes sense.
And yes, you still have to pay off your debts eventually. (Also cool however is that if your project goes "bankrupt", ie. you stop maintaining it, you never do have to pay off the debt. Maybe we should call it technical venture capital.)