When we do not make Social Security an issue, the politicians will not either. In our last presidential election, Romney and Obama agreed on one thing : Social Security is structurally sound. If you have vote 3rd party, and tell others to do the same. The reason that people don't vote 3rd party, is because SS is not a priority.
Early retirement is a real problem for Social Security. You have to understand the formula to see why. Social Security weights 35 years of contributions. As you can guess, people who work a 36th year are HIGHLY profitable to the system. It in some cases is simply free cash. People who exit the work force early are not working the systems most profitable years.
"People are always going to contribute for about 40 years. " That isn't true. My dad took an extra job just to get the two additional quarters needed to qualify for benefits. I think it was a game years ago played by foreign companies. People who wanted a pension would come here 10 years prior to retirement just to qualify. The system at the time was very generous. So it made sense even if the employee never actually set foot on US soil.