"For the first time in American history, he wants to tax your health benefits. Apparently, Senator McCain doesn't think it's enough that your health premiums have doubled. He thinks you should have to pay taxes on them, too." -- Barack Obama, September, 2008
Leopold goes on to explain the disillusionment:
I've come across increasing disillusionment among workers like those at Verizon. They supported Obama in large part because they wanted to protect their excellent health care benefits, something they are very proud of. They should be. They have the kind of plan everyone should have -- full coverage, low deductibles, dental, prescription drugs, and mental health coverage. Their middle-class lives are not economically threatened by illnesses or accidents.
These benefits did not fall from the sky or from the generosity of their employer. Verizon workers won these benefits by uniting with each other and with their union, the Communications Workers of America. They fought a series of strikes over the past three decades (with Verizon and with the companies that preceded it) to secure their benefits and to hang onto them against stiff company assaults. They have no intention of giving them up.
These workers also provided rock solid support for Obama, including his call for health care reform so that all working people one day could enjoy similar coverage. In fact, for these workers one of the key distinguishing points between Obama and McCain centered on the taxing of health care benefits. They felt enormously threatened by McCain's health tax proposals, especially since the cost of many of their excellent plans can exceed $20,000 a year per active member and even more for retirees and their families. Counting those benefits as taxable income would amount to an enormous tax increase for these workers, and their union made sure they understood this point during the campaign. In fact, labor unions all over the country distributed millions of pieces of campaign literature and made tens of thousands of phone calls to drive this point home.
Now these workers are hearing that Obama is open to a tax on these benefits to help pay for health care reform. The very mention of this tax has already weakened support from these workers and sapped their enthusiasm to fight back against Obama's opponents.
It is not only Republicans and Independents not affiliated with any party that Obama's approval ratings are suffering a loss of support from, as my previous post about the new Zogby poll explained earlier, Obama has lost support from his very own base as well.
Broken promises, massive spending, trying to socialize government, bailouts and Obamacare, has soured the mood of the general American public.