What sets this president apart is how eager he is to fund his schemes outside the normal appropriations process.
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you "run out of other people's money." And it's not just tax dollars she was talking about, as the Obama presidency has shown.
Take the decision to force Catholic institutions to provide health-insurance coverage for sterilization, contraception and abortion-inducing drugs. When this decision caused an outcry, Mr. Obama offered the following compromise: Insurance companies will be ordered to provide such coverage "free" to employees of Catholic churches and organizations.
But of course, this coverage won't be free. Insurance companies will pass the cost on to policyholders, including those same Catholic institutions. In short, Other People's Money will be used.
Another example: To appear empathetic about housing foreclosures, the Obama administration pressured five banks to cough up $25 billion—$3 billion to the federal and state governments, and nearly $22 billion for payments to people foreclosed upon and to reduce the principal of mortgages with balances greater than the home's current value.
This will bail out no more than 10% of homeowners whose mortgages are underwater, according to an estimate by Chris Papagianis of the nonpartisan policy-research institute e21, who notes there is roughly $700 billion in residential negative equity across the country.
Karl Rove is a former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush. He is a Fox News contributor and author of "Courage and Consequence" (Threshold Editions, 2010). To continue reading his column in The Wall Street Journal, click here.