In India, the most successful beggars are those with the most pitiful deformities: lepers, cripples, the blind, and those missing limbs. When parents have a child who evokes sympathy this way, they often put him to work in the streets.
In this country as well, the most successful panhandlers are amputees or people with some other condition which sparks pity.
It turns out that the CEOs of the Big Three automakers, all of whom came to Washington D.C. with their hands out, each arrived via private jet.
This produces a reaction similar to the one you might have if a freshly manicured fellow in an expensive suit asked you for some spare change -- while leaning against his Mercedes. Rather than sympathy, he would provoke outrage, doubt about his judgment, and wonder at his nerve.
Which is pretty much the response the CEOs got from Congress.
Never mind the oversized cars with poor gas mileage, the bloated management ranks, or the overly powerful unions. It was the private jets that got everybody's attention.
Yes, it is common practice for CEOs of large companies to fly in private aircraft and enjoy all manner of other perks. But couldn't they have made the sacrifice of flying commercial for just this one trip? The taxpayers whose money they want certainly fly that way.
The moral of the story: if you're going to be a beggar, try to at least look as if you deserve some sympathy.