Obama on Greece: It’s Important to Have Plan For ‘Managing Debt’

By Penny Starr | August 9, 2013 | 12:19 PM EDT

Greece Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and President Barack Obama. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – After meeting with the prime minister of Greece in the Oval Office on Thursday, President Barack Obama said it is important that government officials in Greece have a plan to manage their debt.

In the United States, the total national debt is $16.7 trillion and Congress and the president are gearing up to raise the ceiling on federal borrowing – to keep spending --  after the August recess.


“What we also agreed to is that in dealing with the challenges that Greece faces, we cannot simply look to austerity as a strategy," said Obama after his meeting with Samaras. "It’s important that we have a plan for fiscal consolidation to manage the debt, but it’s also important that growth and jobs are our focus, because we know from history that those countries that are growing, those countries where employment is high and people are increasing their productivity and feel as if the economy is moving forward, those countries have an easier time reducing their debt burdens than countries that -- where people are feeling hopeless."

Obama said Greece was going through some “incredible challenges” and praised Samaras for his efforts to “help reduce the debt burden that Greece experiences, but even more importantly, can unleash the incredible talents of the Greek people so that they are effectively competing in this new world economy.”

Obama said the United States would be as “helpful as we can” and that the Prime Minister is doing what needs to be done.

The U.S. national debt currently is $16.7 trillion. (AP Photo)

“We're confident that the Prime Minister recognizes what needs to be done and is going to be working very hard to accomplish it,” Obama said.

According to the U.S. Treasury as of Aug. 7, 2013 the U.S. national debt is $16,738,537,598,194.21.

When Obama was inaugurated as president on Jan. 20, 2009 the U.S. debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08 -- $6.1 trillion less than it is today.

Also, the federal government deficit under Obama has been as follows: FY 2010, $1.29 trillion; FY 2011, $1.3 trillion; FY 2012, $1.08 trillion; FY 2013, estimated $973 billion.  (The fiscal year for the government runs from October 1 through September 30.  FY 2013 will end at the end of September 2013. )