If we want to advance our society and our technology, then of course we need to apply funds to this. If we want to advance faster, then we need to make sure that we have sufficient funds applied towards it. Since other nations will always being moving forward in the tech aspect, we can either fall behind and die out, or push forward and lead the way.
Research of advanced sciences is vital to our growth as a species. Many of our current technological marvels are thanks directly to massive government funding for organizations like NASA. Space exploration, of course, is very expensive, but also infinitely beneficial, no simply for the tangible benefits but for the growth of knowledge and understanding. There are also many Earth-bound causes worthy of funding, especially in the medical fields. One vaccine for one serious disease can alter the trajectory of a generation.
While private enterprise accommodates the research needs of the market in the near term, it often fails to chase after projects that require a large initial outlay of cash but may result in tremendous long-term rewards. DARPA was one such large governmental organization that gave the world the foundations for the Internet among other things.
The ever expanding consumerism in most First World countries creates a great strain on the planet's natural resources. As such, the advanced sciences are needed to find alternatives for these draws (such as fossil fuels) and to help our society itself advance so that we have a better standard of living (medical advances) more readily available and cost efficient.
However, funding to non-beneficial sciences is one of the many areas of government spending which should be cut. Without funding, many essential medications we have today would not exist.... So it definitely requires discretion from someone to decide what is beneficial and what is not. Non-essential sciences drain our country's already depleted resources.