In a presentation to the annual meeting of the Property and Freedom Society, UK biochemist Dr. Terence Kealey asserted that government science is wasteful. He based that conclusion on data showing that private R&D contributes more to economic growth and his theory that science is not a "public good." He attempts to prove the latter by showing that most scientific research is inaccessible to those who don't have the appropriate specialized knowledge. (As if its value to the public hinges on the public's ability to understand it.)
I agree that government science is generally inefficient and, when it becomes too big, crowds out private research. However, there are historical examples of government and government-funded research yielding big returns. Plus, the argument I hear most often isn't that science is a public good--a rather abstract notion--but that most "pure research" would never get private funding. The problem with that claim is that there are also many historical examples of companies and private universities funding successful pure research.
It turns out that Kealey and Stephan Kinsella (who posted the video at the Ludwig von Mises Institute website) don't believe in intellectual property. They apparently feel that trademarks, copyrights, and patents serve mainly as an excuse for state intervention in the free market. To me, this makes about as much sense as anarchism, and at the end of the day there's little difference between this view and the Marxist dream of abolishing all private property. Presumably, Kealey and Kinsella accept state intervention to protect material private property. The real problem, I suspect, is that they are philosophical materialists who can't conceive of anything other than physical items being property.
A more common sense view is that government science is not always a bad thing, but government science and government in general should be carefully limited. If we stuck to that view it would prevent government from crowding out private research. In fact, the people would be better served if government focused more on encouraging private research and protecting intellectual property.