Do metatags matter these days? Yes and no. While they don't do much to help you get better rankings in the search engines, they do have some very important uses. There are so many myths about metatags these days, and if it's a subject that is important to you, you need to get the facts from someone who has been doing SEO successfully for over 15 years - not just theory, but reality.
Ian Scott writes about the description metatag. You should read the article if you are confused by what is important and what is not.