Can we dismiss this idea that the Apollo project was some kind of uber-expensive white elephant? During the Apollo era, NASA accounted for 4% of the US federal budget (today it's more like 0.5%). The whole shebang cost around $25 billion (without adjusting for inflation), which amounted to a massive stimulus package that the entire economy benefited from. Aside from the fantastic technological advances in every field from integrated circuits to materials science that happened along the way (NASA document more than 6,000 discrete innovations from smoke detectors to microwaves as a result of the space programme), for every dollar spent on Apollo the US economy benefited to the tune of about seven dollars.
For comparison, you could have had five and a bit Apollo programmes for one single Vietnam war.