Even so, Gilman is concerned that Reid and other political leaders will come up with a solution to the "fiscal cliff" that will kill off northern Nevada's fledgling recovery.
The Reno area economy is expected to grow 1.2 percent this year, according to Applied Analysis. That's an improvement over the last few years, but it lags the rest of the country. Applied Analysis said growth in 2013 will only bring an estimated 1,900 jobs to an area that has lost 35,000 in the downturn.
Even the Mustang Ranch has felt the sting of the recession. (Read More: Recession Hits World's Oldest Profession.)
"I've had to learn to adjust, my ladies have had to learn to adjust," said Susan Austin, the madam who operates the ranch. Many of her clients lost jobs, and those with jobs have held back discretionary spending. Austin fears the fiscal cliff will only make that worse. "It's definitely going to hurt me in the end."
Not everyone in this part of Nevada may suffer if the cliff creates chaos. Uncertainty is good for one booming business: mining. There is more gold in the Silver State than anywhere else in America. "The gold industry, I think, celebrated the election," Gilman said.
Whatever solution Congress comes up with, Lance Gilman hopes it doesn't mean more rules on business. "We are absolutely crushed with regulation." (Read more: MLB Players Fear Fiscal Cliff, Too)
More than that, however, he wants Sen. Reid and others negotiating a so-called "grand bargain" to remember, "This is where the buck stops. All of the rules that are made back there, all the regulations that are made back there, all the financial decisions, they all flow right down here to where you and I are standing," he said, pointing to a one million-square-foot Wal-Mart distribution center built in the middle of the chaparral. "If companies aren't calling, and they aren't expanding, and we aren't growing, then we're going in the opposite direction." (Read More: Tax Uncertainty Puts Muni Bonds Back in Spotlight)
—By CNBC's Jane Wells; Follow her on Twitter: @janewells