Lehman Brothers failed threaten to unleash a greater monster with a U.S debt default.
Lehman Brothers had $370 billion in debt when it failed, the U.S. Government has over $14 trillion. The explosion in the financial markets could be 40 times Lehman. There would be no Uncle Sam for Wall Street to run to.
America's leaders are either stupid beyond measure or this is political theater, which means they believe voters are stupid beyond measure.