The federal government may be dysfunctional, but financial advisers say the U.S. economy is so powerful a force, it can even brush off the incompetence of Washington DC.


  1200 WOAI news reports that a survey of financial advisers nationwide, the so called Brinker Barometer, shows that 69% of advisers feel that their clients are financially better off today than they were one year ago.


  Wendy Kowalik, the President of Predico Partners, a prominent San Antonio financial advisory group, says its amazing how much a rising 401k balance can make all the jabbering in Washington vanish.


  "Their 401ks are up, they're seeing things doing better, they're seeing stores doing better, they are seeing their pocketbooks looking a little bit stronger," she said.


  Kowalik says even though Washington can't get its act together, there is a feeling among Americans that the financial crisis of 2008 has passed.


  "They're worth a little more than they were a year ago, and that really gives them confidence that this thing is turning around and they do now have a chance to save for the future," she said.


  The survey savages Washington DC and the politicians who inhabit it.  64% said America's reputation around the world had suffered over the past year, and 61% fretted about ineffective federal governance by the White House and Congress.


  But Kowalik says the American people have taking an unusual track.  She says the consumer, which represent 70% of the U.S. economy, have simply decided to prosper anyway, despite President Obama actually 'talking down' the stock market, and despite the bizarre 17 day U.S. government shut down last month.


  She says the optimism is especially strong here in Texas.  The State Comptroller reported last week that retail sales in Bexar County were up an amazing 14% in October over October of 2012, despite the government shutdown, signaling a strong, confident, and wealthier consumer base.


  "They are seeing consumers going out to grocery stores and going out to restaurants, and spending a little more of that discretionary money," she said.


  Kowalik credits the influence of the Eagle Ford shale oil fields, as well as the general ability of the Texas economy to weather the storm. But she warns that, just as the consumers, and not government, are lifting the economy, consumers also have the power to sink it.  She says if there are indications of falling retail sales and lower optimism, that could bring down the economic recovery.