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.”

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