So the mob goes into a neighborhood and explains to a shop owner that there are dangers in the world and the mob is the agency best equipped to protect the shop owner. Should the owner balk at that idea, he'll find himself proven wrong when, coincidentally, a brick gets thrown through his window two night later....surely something that would have been prevented if he had taken advantage of the "insurance" policy offered by the mob.
Over the course of time, the mob recognized various opportunities that their diversified business associations provided. For instance, everyone they provided "protection" for also need to throw out their trash. So the mob formed a trash hauling business. Also, if the mob provided protection for both a painter and for a grocer, and the Giants failed to cover on Sunday... the grocer might find himself in need of some painting, which the mob would happily arrange with their friend the painter...for a standard 20% vig, on both sides. Over the course of time came drug distribution, gambling, and other associated business.
In short, the mob became a very convenient one stop shop for everything everyone needed, for the small fee of just about everything you owned. And if that ended up costing too much, no worries, they also had a very successful lending program to ensure you kept afloat.
Yeah you were giving them all your money, and they were putting you deeper in debt, and you were subject to their whims and any given time, but you WERE protected. Make no bones about that, you were definately protected.
So just replace "brick" with 9/11, "trash" with "everything", and "mob" with "government" and you see what has me all pissed off.
Oh right...you don't have to change drugs and gambling. Those are the same.