The looming fiscal cliff may be reason to panic, but it's not reason enough to hold the country hostage, according to Larry Summers.
"In saying that it's an outcome that has to be avoided, that can't become a license for terror," Summers, the former Treasury Secretary and economic adviser to President Obama, said in an interview with CNBC. "That can't become a license that whoever's most unreasonable gets their way because we have to avoid going over the cliff."
A combination of trillions in spending cuts and tax increases will go into effect on Jan. 1 if lawmakers fail to reach a deal to fix the U.S. deficit. But they're locked in a stalemate; Republicans in Congress want to avoid tax increases, while Obama has said that he would veto any deal that extends tax cuts for the rich.
Summers isn't the first to warn of the consequences of lawmakers using a debt deal to hold the country hostage. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett also accused Republicans of using inappropriately threatening tactics during the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations.