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Fiscal cliff will usher in profound change

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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. Sandy had nothing to do with the rest of the world. Eurozone industrial production in September fell sharply, down 2.5 percent in the month. Third-quarter eurozone GDP fell by 0.2 percent annualized, negative for the second straight quarter and three of the last four. Japan's third-quarter GDP sank 3.5 percent. China's official reports cannot be trusted, not during a leadership change. Nobody outside the new Po...