In chatting with a lot of people, I'm always surprised to hear that a lot of people simply do not realize how advancement in science is responsible for creating jobs and spur economic growth, at least within the last 50 years or so. I tend to guess that a lot of politicians, especially those who think that cutting back on science funding, might have the same ignorance as well. They do not realize that the iPhone and other electronics that they are using came out of innovations in science that not only created jobs, but also gave them the conveniences that they are taking for granted.
This article, which first appeared in 2005 to commemorate the World Year of Physics, clearly outlined the importance of physics in terms of economic growth.
This link is probably a seminar presentation, but pay attention to viewgraph on page 21. Look at how puny the funding for physical sciences is when compared to, say, the Life Sciences. And of course, compare funding for ALL of science when compared to other entitlements such as the military, etc. Yet, not only is this small sector responsible as the origin of a lot of the economic growth, it is also now a target for a horribly devastating budget cut! You're cutting your nose to spite your face!
There are many actions that simply do not make any sense, even after they have been explained to me. This is one such example. You have something that has been generally regarded as driving a significant portion of your economy, even if it has been poorly funded all this time. So what do you do? You cut it down under the guise of reducing your budget. Yet, you leave the most significant portion of your "expenses" untouched, or even give it an increase!