Apparently about a month ago, Japan announced that they'll make a space elevator for 10 billion dollars. If it's actually possible to do it that cheaply, or even if it cost 100 billion dollars, then every country in the world that can scrounge up that much money should get on it today. It cuts the price of putting something in space a hundred fold.
If Japan (or any country) has a space elevator, and no other country does, then there will be no "American" or "Russian" space program. There will be no national program but the one that has the space elevator. If you could do a project for 1% of its original cost, it makes any inconvenience worth it. A space elevator makes getting into space so cheap, that you could go for your vacation.
It's too bad that the American government has no sense of vision, has no direction, and has absolutely no sense of priorities, since I guarantee that building a space elevator of our own would give innumerable benefits, and we're going to be late to the party, because we're focusing on stupid things of the moment.