For nearly thirty years--ever since the Republican congressional barons of 1982 begged Reagan to allow them to increase taxes and then figured out that a tax increase that would "save Social Security" was one that he would accept--the rest of the federal budget has ridden on the back of Social Security and its operating surplus. Those days were coming to an end, and it looks like the magnitude of the current crisis means that that end comes... now.
The Congressional Budget Office reports that the era of Social Security Trust Fund services is over:
The smart thing to do would be for congress this fall to (a) uncap FICA--apply it to all of wage-and-salary income rather than just the bottom 90%--starting in 2012 and raise the retirement age to 70 in 2030, thus hitting those born in 1960 and later (i.e., me). And then revisit the system in a decade and see what shape it is in.
Adding-on some tax-preferred properly-incentivized individual accounts as an add-on, not a carve-out would be a good idea as well.