Yes the government should be investing in the space program. The future could be in space. We don't understand enough about space yet to know for sure. There should not be a huge amount invested but there should still be a decent amount invested so we don't fall behind other countries.
Space technology will lead to a better understanding of space, and after all, knowledge is priceless. Developing this field may also lead to humans establishing permanent settlements on other planets, such as Mars. The benefits of escaping earth and actually being on other planets will hopefully get people to realize we are all the same.
The main purpose of the branch society holds invested in knowledge. To fulfill our knowledge, we must invest some money into exploration. This does not serve as a waste to the government's fund. The importance of knowledge is critical ans serves a great implement in politics, which can then better our society.
The question is not if, but how much and how fast. Space has resources we cannot yet fathom. And it;s not just technology that is needed, but training and education as well. Life is out there, and - even if not intelligent - we will learn things that would advance earthy understanding in ways we otherwise could not. Exploration of all new things is the only way to learn and advance, no matter what level you are speaking about - from a child to a society to a species. Spend the money, and do it wisely. Compete strongly for the resources near at hand (the Moon, Mars, asteroids) and explore gradually beyond. Be ready to accelerate funding should discoveries warrant.
NASA is so slow in space technology. What private companies have do in 20 years has taken NASA 50. Private companies are closer to having man go to mars than NASA is. Just leave it up to private companies not NASA so we get more done and are out of debt.
Space technology is a thing of the past, very few people care about space expeditions and even less follow it regularly. Space technology is very expensive and requires a lot of money which the American government can't afford, since it is already 10s of trillions of dollars in debt. I think there are investments that are safer than space technology for America to get involved in.