The reason the surplus decreased is that outlays increased faster than receipts after 2006. During the downturn the number of people on disability has risen. Social security is projected to be in deficit starting in 2016. There was still a $62 billion surplus in 2012. So the data in Table 1.1 do not prove that SS is in financial trouble. But, the trend is not favorable.
Clinton, like presidents before him, used the entire SS surplus. Each year the Treasury spends all the receipts from SS. It “pays” for the surplus by giving SS non-negotiable bonds. The holding of these bonds by the SS administration constitutes the SS trust fund.
In the 8 years of Clinton administration budgets (FY 1994 through 2001), total outlays of the federal government rose from $1,462 billion to $1,863 billion or 27 percent. In the 8 years of the Bush administration budgets (FY 2002 through 2009), total outlays rose from $2,010 billion to $3,518 billion or 75 percent.