1) Social Security, at current rates, is not expected to run short of money before 2037.
2)The simplest way to "fix" Social Security, if you're worried about a "problem" 27 years in the future, is simply to remove the contribution limit. End of problem. Period. Social Security is not in crisis.
3) The reason politicians want to "fix" Social Security is to increase the SS surplus, so they can use it for other things.
4) Medicare has more serious issues. However the simplest way to fix healthcare in the US is to move single payer, which would reduce healthcare per person by one-third. It has worked for every other country in the history of the world that has done it. It will work for the US. Since we've admitted now that everyone deserves health care, and since it's cheaper, and better, why not use the next round of healthcare to fix Medicare by fixing health care?
The unspoken entitlement is the US military. The US spends about half the entire world's military budget. There is, actually, no one in the world who can invade or seriously threaten the US in any fashion. (Is Canada going to invade? Mexico?) You can easily slash the military budget in half and still be so far ahead of any possible combination of enemies that it isn't even close.
And yes, taxes are going to need to go up. Here's a simple fix—tax all income over 5 million at 90%. It won't hurt the economy (the best economy in America's history was back when marginal tax rates were this high in the 50's and 60's). It will mean that the rich, who got almost the entire bailout and whose irresponsibility threw the US into its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression will pay for it.
Oh, and change the estate tax to tax 80% of all inheritances over 5 million, too. Remember, dead people don't need money and 5 million tax free for choosing your parents right is enough of a head start.
There are plenty of other ways to raise money and cut costs. For example, you can put a tax on buying and selling derivatives or you can slap on a carbon tax or you can reform corporate taxes so corporations making billions don't pay no taxes.
Finally, the bottom line is this. The US owes its money in dollars. The US can print money. The US is not going to run out of money(pdf). There may be some inflation but anyone who tries to tell you that the US won't have enough money to pay SS or Medicare is simply lying to you.