On yesterday's CNN Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips shifted to "Bad Boys" mode:
Lenders, lenders -- what you gonna do when they come for you? Call it an early Christmas present for people on the edge of losing their homes. The Obama administration cracking down on mortgage companies.
We'll tell you about it.
After the break:
PHILLIPS: Well, from your health (ph) to your home, the foreclosure crisis shows no signs of letting up, so the Obama administration is trying to fight back.
Personal Finance Editor Gerri Willis joining us live from New York.
So, Gerri, new hope for struggling homeowners?
To her credit, Willis was considerably more restrained:
GERRI WILLIS, CNN PERSONAL FINANCE EDITOR: Well, we'll see, Kyra. You know, lots of changes announced today to the Making Home Affordable program. And as you know, this is the program the administration has put into place to change those mortgages that people had so much trouble with during the mortgage meltdown.
Unfortunately, it's really not helping a lot of people right now. It's scheduled to help four million. It's helping less than two percent of those people right now. So here are the changes they're putting in place.
And after reporting the details:
WILLIS: The administration here trying to make some changes to it, tweaks to it here and there, to make it more effective. But the devil's in the details.
We'll be watching these reports monthly to see how many people they're helping and if more Americans are really getting assistance. But some interesting changes, Kyra. More stick, less carrot.
Gerri's cautiousness is justified. When Obama announced his plan in Mesa last February, the New York Times reported:
“This plan will not save every home, but it will give millions of families resigned to financial ruin a chance to rebuild,” Mr. Obama told a crowd here, in one of the communities hardest hit by the housing crisis.
Millions of families? Not according to the the Congressional Oversight Panel's October report, "An Assessment of Foreclosure Mitigation Efforts after Six Months." The liberal Center for Media and Democracy's PR Watch.org summarized:
To no one's surprise, the Congressional Oversight Panel released a report in October showing that these programs are failing. Fewer than 2,000 of the 500,000 loan modifications then in progress had become permanent under the program, and only a handful lowered the principle. The pace of the Treasury Department programs is so slow that most people are being foreclosed upon before they are even able to apply.
Yet to Kyra Phillips, fiddling at the margins of yet another failed Obama experiment is "an early Christmas present" and "the Obama administration is trying to fight back." Bah, humbug!