Government funded research programs are all over the place, the CDC, NASA and DARPA are the three biggest examples I can think of right now who have done vast amounts of research that has trickled to the private sector and expanded the economy of the country. Bigger/more profitable economy means more tax revenue for the government, less taxes you pay and higher wages you earn. Everyone wins if you spend money on pure research. This is proven time again in both History and every strategy game I've ever played.
:-) The next time you use your microwave powered by a nuclear powerplant to heat your chicken sammich to 160 degrees so you don't catch the salmonella (sp?) that the CDC warned you about... question your opinion on the value of pure research. It does alot more for your quality of life than you apparently realize.