Courtesy of Will Baird:
So back in 1976, the USERDA published some projections about how much money they needed to get a demonstration fusion reactor running by 1990, 1993, 1998 and 2005 respectively. They all expected outlays to multiply. Instead they fell.
Either this is one of the most short-sighted budget savings in the history of the United States, or even back in 1978 nobody really thought that this unicorn would be found.