While Washington is focused on the debt debate, tonight's commentator wants to have a bigger conversation about growth. He's Glenn Hubbard, dean of the Graduate School of Business at Columbia and former top economic adviser to President George W. Bush.

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GLENN HUBBARD, DEAN, COLUMBIA GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS: Our current national debate over fiscal austerity masks a conversation we need to have about growth, to raise incomes and create jobs.

Faster growth doesn't just happen. A supportive policy environment is needed. We need to encourage participation in the workforce and to provide education and training that match the skills required for today and tomorrow.

The productivity of our workforce also depends on the plant and equipment and software that businesses have. We need tax reform to promote that investment. Growth is powerful. At a 3 percent growth rate that we can achieve over time, average incomes will double between a baby's first birthday and 25th birthday.

That is, the average income of about $45,000 today would be $90,000 in today's prices in a generation. That income can fund health care, education, our defense, and a strong safety net.

But first we must grow. Even as we debate deficit reduction, we should remind our leaders of this.

I'm Glenn Hubbard.