If prognostications come true about the world ending in 2012, one thing will be saved: Social Security.

Economic experts say that starting this year, the trust fund stops taking in more money that it pays out.

Yet, it remains the one topic all politicians choose to avoid, except maybe Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum.

The former U.S. Senator believes America needs to start cutting the program now, as painful as that might seem to some. His opponents don’t address the issue or dodge it. On the Democratic side, talking about major changes in Social Security equates to a Republican supporting tax increases: party banishment and political doom.

But there the program sits.

And back in December, when Congress decided to extend the payroll tax cut, it engineered a generally unnoticed by some accounts a significant blow to Social Security.

Put simply, the tax cut deal involves shifting money from the government’s general revenue pot, some $100 billion, to the Social Security Trust Fund to pay for losses to the trust fund because of the payroll tax cut.

It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul, as the adage goes. And some believe that if cutting payroll taxes becomes one of the default moves to stimulate the economy, well, Social Security is doomed — or better yet, more doomed, again.

Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking on when the trust fund goes belly up with 2030 a ballpark estimate.

If the world does not end in 2012, the government gets about two decades to figure out how to keep Social Security checks from bouncing.

What can lawmakers do about it?

Better yet, what can we do about it?

I’d like to hear some suggestions.

And so would the lawmakers.

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