IEEE Spectrum has a nice article on NSF funding for "wasteful" robotics projects. I suspect the critics, of NSF funding for research on laundry folding robots, failed to ask the person who folds their laundry what they think. They also failed to consider the matter seriously.
I think almost everyone who folds their own clothes can agree that laundry folding is a technological development that is almost as important as robotic beverage delivery. I for one hope to buy a used PR2 on eBay one day, and I expect by the time that I can afford a used PR2 it will be capable of much more than laundry related QoLT tasks.
People complaining about the speed of the folding process may want to make themselves familiar with the state of the art in robotic folding.
Can you watch that video and not think that this research is important and worth funding? Which would you rather have, a job building robots that fold laundry or a job folding laundry?
Perhaps Senator Tom Coburn is simply wasting time and taxpayers money trying to stop us from having robot friends that can help us with the laundry. Well it's a good thing there is not a problem with unemployment that the senator's time could be better spent working on.