Forty-five percent of registered voters rated the economy as the most important issue in deciding their vote if the congressional election were held today, according to a news story in Politico; only 4 percent ranked climate change as the top issue. The poll conducted by Public Strategies Research Practice Group, a business advisory firm located in Austin, Texas, is consistent with other recent polling that shows global climate change low on the priority list of most Americans.

Conducted between Oct. 9 and Oct 13, the poll surveyed 1,000 registered voters. Among polling respondents, 62 percent believed that economic growth should be given priority even if the environment suffers to some extent, as opposed to 38 percent who believed that protection of the environment should be given priority even at the risk of curbing economic growth.

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The American people seem to understand that the threat of possible global warming is far less of a concern than having a job and being able to put food on the table and heat their homes. Apparently this is not the case with many politicians in Washington who are moving forward with the Kerry-Boxer "Pollution Reduction and Reinvestment" cap and trade program included in their proposed Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.

If Kerry-Boxer passes, American households will pay more for heating their homes and driving their cars. What's more, they'll pay more for virtually everything they buy as energy costs are a component of most goods and services consumed.

Cap and trade cost estimates for typical American households vary widely from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars per year. Even proponents of the legislation admit that Americans will take a financial hit if cap and trade is enacted.

It seems to defy logic that Kerry-Boxer even warrants consideration when the national unemployment rate is approaching 10 percent. It is hard to explain why many politicians in Washington are so out of sync with the American people on this issue.

One explanation is that global warming is a good way for ideologues to exert more control over the economy and control the habits of the American people. Another explanation is that it is simply business as usual in Washington with politicians trying to satisfy environmental special interest groups and businesses seeking to reap profits if they can secure political favor from a government-controlled energy sector.

In either case, elected officials would be wise to consider that they proceed at their own peril with climate change legislation that is clearly not a priority of voters.