President Obama is expected to make his case for a debt ceiling increase at a press conference this morning. The development comes as House Republicans are reportedly weighing “default” and “government shutdown.” While it’s encouraging that conservatives are gearing up for a fight, it’s important that policymakers and the public keep those two terms straight.

Default. The only way the federal government would default on its debt in the event the debt ceiling remains unchanged is for the Treasury to choose to default—an utterly implausible eventuality. Suggestions to the contrary in the press and elsewhere are simply inaccurate and shameful.