A directly on target remark from Atrios:
" In the early 80s Uncle Alan Greenspan had a cunning plan to deal with Social Security, which was to jack up regressive payroll taxes and collect a surplus in the form of obligations from the general fund which will then be paid down as the boomers retire. The deficit scolds will claim that they essentially can't afford to pay this money back, stealing your promised retirement money."
And this is exactly what they have done. Reagan's cynical plan to collect revenue without raising income taxes was to raise the taxes for social security, and then raid that money to create the illusion that his deficits (gigantic by historical standards) were smaller than they really were. This has become standard Republican practice, with the result that they can now claim that the social security system doesn't have enough money to keep its promises. The alleged social security shortfall is totally the result of this Republican theft (as is every other economic problem we face) but the press still supports them in their claim to be the fiscally responsible party, while they are the ones who run up grotesque deficits and give the country away to their rich masters.
At the same time, they provided themselves with ammunition in their endless struggle to destroy the greatest of all Democratic gifts to the American people- the knowledge that they will not be left destitute in their old age.