Of course we have to monitor employment. We need to look at aggregate retail sales, transports -- they were hideous yesterday -- and any of the broader commodities like copper and oil to monitor how deep the slowdown will be or if it just rolls right into recession, which is what the stock market's telling us is going to happen. No, that's not too dire.
But those three indicators will tell us if the bad news is in or not and will allow us to begin to speculate that the stock market itself has Washington worried and is therefore somewhat self-correcting.
Of course there is an orderly path to make it so the slowdown doesn't occur and the cuts aren't all that harmful and the increases not all that hideous. That's why we were not tanking before the election. There was so much momentum going Romney's way in the market that the cliff's harms could be ignored.
No more momentum. No more Romney. No more ignoring.So watch those indicators. Recognize that the good news is ephemeral and the bad news transcendent. Make some sales of economically-sensitive companies of all stripes that don't have higher-yielding protection and watch those signs. They will get you through this and, yes, we will get through this, even as we have to admit that the odds for going over the cliff have now increased greatly because the sniping's just begun.