The EAS program is more then just getting air service to remote communities, which is essential for places like PIR, DIK, PDT, LWB, IWD, IWT, BJI, MSL, to name a few. Obviously these places, as well as Alaska, are dependent on air service because they are very isolated from the rest of their states/country. However, it is also about growing area businesses and supporting economic growth in smaller communities.
The problem for cities like MKG, PUB, ALO, MCW, HOT, MAC, to name a few, is that they don't have Amtrak service and thus are dependent on air service to get people into their region. Yes, some are an hour drive from a major airport or medium sized airport. However, what happens if someone wants to get there for business meeting or has a family emergency? It is not always conducive to drive. This gives these smaller communities the ability to have air service which will allow a transportation alternative to driving. It also gives jobs to the community related to these flights, which we all know, no major commuter airline would fly into without an incentive. Finally, the EAS program keeps flight prices reasonable to these cities so that they are not being taken advantage of for having a smaller airport/community.
Is it a waste of tax dollars? No more then some of the crap the US government gives money to, that is related to transportation... like the HART (Honolulu Area Rapid Transit) which has already cost US taxpayers 810 million dollars for a half built above ground metro system for a city that is 68 sq miles.
Again, why move to such a remote place knowing full well there is no air service. Some act like air service is an unalienable right, its not. Ferrying 4-8 or so passengers is also a waste of pilots and given the pilot shortage, moving 50 passengers is a better use of resources than 10 or less. Along with no air service small towns also lack large hospitals, entertainment venues, etc, but that's the trade off for country living. They enjoy low taxes, light traffic, less crime, and a less stressful way of life. This country has a gimme attitude or an entitlement attitude that has spread to many areas of life, thinking someone will have to pay for me, its my right as a citizen.