Fiscal cliff will usher in profound change

Commentary: When austerity arrives, our hopes will rest on adaptable economy

Most people seem to feel some sense of relief at the passing of the election, but markets are apprehensive. We need for big stuff to happen, and we know that more will happen now, faster than it has in years. But we don’t know what will happen, or to what effect.

The daily flow of economic data causes upsets, but reassures markets — at least we know where we are. For the next month Hurricane Sandy will distort to uselessness most of the usual reports, as it did this week’s shaky ones for retail sales, unemployment and industrial production. Maybe a new trend, maybe nothing.