Did Neil Armstrong steal other people's dreams? Or did he help create someone's dream of private space exploration?
There were programs I never wanted my tax dollars to go, but this was not one of them. I gladly contributed my dollars to this cause and continue to do so. No theft involved whatsoever here, Thomas.
Uh, no, Thomas, YOU are one using the word "theft". Theft is wrong, period. Stealing food to survive is also wrong; how do you know the folks you stole it from are not also on survival rations?
Allocation of resources from a pool of funds specifically designed to pay for things not every single person in a society may agree with is not theft, it is government. The fact that you do not agree with a specific line item in the budget does not make an allocation of resources to that line item "theft" from your pocket.
It is either ALL theft, or NO theft. You don't get to pick and choose which is which.
You may disagree that human spaceflight (and I will point out that the STS was not the end all be all of human spaceflight, but that seems to be where your ire is specifically directed) is something worth funding. Fine. But to call it "theft" because you disagree with it is enormously arrogant and self-serving. Sorry, dude, but there are also others of us also living in this society who may appreciate the allocation of those resources.
Why? Because I have personally seen the spark in TENS of THOUSANDS of kids eyes, all over the world when they get a chance to talk to or visit with someone who has flown in space – robots are fun and interesting, but human inspiration comes from human achievement (disclaimer: I am not an astronaut, but my day job for the last 20 years brings my into constant and close contact with astronauts and cosmonauts from 35 different countries). I personally and viscerally understand the value of what astronauts bring to the table, in terms of inspiration for the next generation of scientists, engineers, and aviators (oh...guys like Rutan and Allen, for example).
For you, this expenditure for human spaceflight is "theft".
For me, and many many others, it is a "gift" to future generations.
You mention the cost of 160 Billion as if it were supposed to impress some one of being expensive, when it no longer does. For one the number is so large it is meaningless to most thinking people while on the other hand our government throws more than that down their favorite rat hole. Nationally the teachers unions have more than 2 Trillion dollars in unfunded retirement assets. Two trillion is enough to find more than 12 entire space programs. Now that is a LOT of money.
The shuttle program was a thing the country and people could point to with pride. As a pilot I felt a connection to it, even though tenuous at best. Now we have to hitch rides on launches made by other countries.
BUT...Commercialism is showing some guts and I do believe that in just a few years we (the astronauts) will able to catch rides on commercial flights to and from the International Space Station at a small fraction of today's cost. And we will have an intermediate stop for the moon and other locations being the ISS or a new development. The potential and possibilities are there if the governments of the world don't bankrupt us first.