CNN Money has profiled 7 government-backed inventions. Most of us know the Internet would not have been possible without the research and development funded by tax dollars, but fewer know that the GPS and microchip were also created as a direct result of "big government."
Beyond those inventions, I was suprised to find that aerodynamic trucks (tractor trailers on the highway) were designed by NASA. Bar codes -- imagine modern commerce with the ubiquitous bar code -- were developed with funding from the National Science Foundation.
As a nation, we greatly appreciate the innovation that comes from the private sector (especially you Apple fan-boys) but it is beyond time we recognize the role of the public sector in innovation as well. Heck, just how much innovation would we see on farms if they were still only connected with dirt roads?? How much more will we see when they are all connected with fast, affordable, and reliable connections to the Internet?