Mortgage modifications, take two: Obama tries a bigger stick to make banks lower loan payments

You know that old saying about how in life there are no second acts? Perhaps not. But that doesn't apply to government work.

On Monday, the Obama administration is set to try one more time to get mortgage companies to reduce payments in an effort to bring a halt to ever-mounting foreclosures.

The first effort was a huge flop: Of the half million or so loan modifications made since the first push was on, only about 2,000 became permanent, according to a Congressional oversight panel.

In an interview with the New York Times, Michael Barr, the Treasury Department's assistant secretary for financial institutions said, " The banks are not doing a good enough job ... some of the firms ought to be embarrassed, and they will be."