I ran across this explanation that I thought explained what has happened to SS, no thanks to the Republican whiners who've benefited from pillaging the trust fund for their own benefit. Democrats have been a part of this too, but they're not the ones who want to downsize it.
Social Security is running on a surplus of $2.6 trillion, it's funded until 2037, it cannot run out of money, it cannot contribute to the deficit, it has lower administrative costs than private sector 401k retirement plans, and it's wildly popular … a report by the AARP Public Policy Institute found that Social Security stimulates the economy, adding more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy each year.
The Free-Market Alternative Doesn't Work: Stunningly, the number of private sector workers covered by a pension with a guaranteed payout has dropped from 60 percent to 10 percent.
The most important thing to remember about the “evils of redistribution,” it’s just the opposite of what Republicans are telling you. Social Security money has been redistributed to the wealthy, not the other way around:
Redistribution Has Moved Retirement Money from the Middle Class to the Rich: Tax Expenditures -- subsidies from special deductions, exemptions, exclusions, credits, capital gains, and loopholes that move tax money to the richest taxpayers -- are estimated to be worth up to 8% of the GDP, or about $1.2 trillion. That alone is more than enough to pay for Social Security ($883 billion).
Because of this misdirected revenue, government has been forced to borrow from Social Security to fund its programs. Most notably, George W. Bush took our retirement money to pay for his two wars and his tax cuts for the rich.
If you take anything away from this article, it’s this:
This last reason, more than any of the others, reveals the overwhelming unfairness of cutting Social Security. In effect, the middle class is being told to replenish its own savings account after those savings were passed along to the military and the super-rich.