This is the debate that is going on in Washington right now:

Would a government default have the impact of Lehman10 as Daniel Gross puts it or could the breaching of the debt ceiling be a "managed catastrophe" as Senator Tom Coburn so artfully put it?

According to estimates by The Bipartisan Policy Center, the U.S. will run out of money between Oct. 22 and Nov. 1, which could result in a default. Coburn disputes this, and argues that the current government shutdown is the right time for politicians to make hard choices about spending, rather than kicking the can down the line. Hence, "managed catastrophe."

In the image above, Coburn symbolically cuts a credit card that represents government spending.