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Sorry, both Clinton and Trump's economic plans fall short

A supporter of former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders gives the thumbs down gesture as Hillary Clinton's name is mentioned during Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25,
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have blasted each other's economic plans. But you know what I think? Both plans are disappointing in their own way.

Donald Trump's plan lacks any description of how his tax cuts would be paid for, while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's plan, to borrow a Stephen Colbert-style expression, lacks "growthiness."

Given that the U.S. economy is growing at its slowest pace in decades and that budget deficits may begin to grow again, the U.S. needs a plan that at least tries to stimulate growth toward its long-run 3-percent potential while either holding annual deficits steady, or cutting them sufficiently to keep the national debt from growing further.

Trump's plan is the product of unreconstructed supply-siders who believe that large tax cuts solve all our economic problems.

Clinton's plan won't boost the budget deficit by as much, but it lacks the firepower necessary to jump-start the economy, and her proposed tax increases in the name of "fairness" could prove quite harmful to an economic recovery that is a tad long in the tooth.

You would think that with such obvious needs for further stimulus, for unmet needs and for major reforms, that someone would have put forth an economic plan that addresses each problem that is keeping our economy from growing at its true potential.

But, wait! There is a plan that would do just that. Reach deep back into your memory (a little less than six years ago) when former Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton administration official Erskine Bowles released a plan that would that was so roundly criticized by members of both parties that it must be the right thing to do. Essentially, everyone's ox gets gored in an attempt to right the nation's listing fiscal ship.

The Simpson/Bowles Plan, created by a bipartisan commission empaneled by President Obama, would cut discretionary spending by $200 billion per year while increasing tax revenues by at least $100 billion, according to a Congressional Research Service report. It would extend the solvency of Social Security and Medicare by decades, while also allocating ample dollars for much needed infrastructure and education reforms. To top it off, Simpson/Bowles simplifies the individual tax code and reforms corporate taxes to make US corporations more globally competitive, from reduced rates to a territorial system that prevents double-taxation of profits.

It's simple and direct. It makes sense.

Sorry. Both Clinton an Trump's economic plans leave much to be desired. Simpson/Bowles gets my vote.

Commentary by Ron Insana, a CNBC and MSNBC contributor and the author of four books on Wall Street. Follow him on Twitter @rinsana.

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