Social Security might be special, but it is not unique. It collects money and spends money, just like the rest of the federal government. And like the broader budget, smart people are beginning to worry that we can't afford it, due to the rising gap between revenues and spending in the next few decades.
So there's a good case that we should not try to fix Social Security's projected shortfall by changing Social Security. Instead, we should try to fix the entire federal budget, of which Social Security comprises 20 percent. This makes sense. It's like saying that the federal budget is an overweight individual and that Social Security is his lower back pain. You can fix the lower back pain alone with chiropractic surgery. But if you change the individual's diet and exercise, you can fix the lower back pain and all of the other maladies associated with obesity ... and leave the chiropractor out of it.
My take: let's call the chiropractor. Fair and phased-in Social Security reform won't fix the government's larger bloated debt problem. But it would be an important start that demonstrates the United States' willingness to make small sacrifices to our future entitlements and paves the way for even more important reforms to Medicare and the tax code.