Social security was created millenia ago. In the ancient Egypt, old people who had given their labor to the Pharaoh received a lot of benefits. In ancient Greece, there was the “Law of the Swan” (funny, couldn’t find anything about this one in the internet), which obligated the adults and young in productive age to sustain their old relatives.
But then came the dark ages, when people lived little, so nobody cared about the old anymore.
A few centuries later came the industrial revlutions. Then, when medicine advanced a little, people started living more. The first organized groups of workers for their rights, a kind of grandmother of today’s unions, started asking for benefits to those who were so old, they couldn’t work anymore.
And then, after a lot of strikes and legal battles, they got it. Social security. A small point should be noticed, though: by that time, employers calculated the average age at which most people died (average life expectancy of a population). People would have the right to retire and be paid for it at that age. So nice from their part, huh?
That was by the passage of century XIX to XX. Since then, governments have had a lot of fun taking money from social security. Let’s see an example that happened in Brazil: retirement was regulated by the 30’s, 40’s; the condition for one to retire is that they must have paid their dues to the SS for at least 30 years. In the late 50’s, nobody had paid the SS for 30 years yet, hence the fund was billionaire and no worker had ever seen the color of that money. Simultaneously, the government had set to build a new capital. What did they do? They took what would be, if converted today to dollars, some US$200 billions (I think) and built a city. Complete with hospitals, churchs, schools, colleges, artifical lakes the size of the city itself, etc. It’s called Brasilia, and thanks to it, we have a gigantic hole in the SS funds which has not been efficiently dealt with to this day.
So you see… The SS is like the piggy-coffer of the president. When he wants some expensive candy and he doesn’t have enough pocket money, he breaks the coffer.