Manned Programs Are Just For Show
Of course, you could argue that almost everything NASA does is basically entertainment, but the manned space programs really are useless. I used to work in the Space Sciences, and those guys doing pure research are forever getting their budgets cut in favor of stupid crap like ISS and Mission to Mars.
If Congress would just cut out the manned crap, NASA could do incredible research on about $4 billion per year, far less than our yearly Israel budget!
But that's not going to happen, so at least they could split the agency in two, make a Space Research Agency with its own funding, and a Manned Space Agency that has to fend for itself and won't be able to dip into the research money for extra support.
Actually, that's not a bad idea. Something needs to be done soon, because the situation is getting serious. Small research groups need to have multiple projects in the pipeline to keep highly skilled scientists and engineers gainfully employed.
Airheads may think it's wasteful, but really, 4 or 5 billion dollars (research only) is a tiny, TINY price to pay for maintaining a cadre of top scientists. The global PR and goodwill alone is worth the price.