Historian Michael Parenti on the difference between the Mafia and today’s real gangsters:
Unlike the boardroom plunderers, the mafiosi did not occupy high positions in Washington or on Wall Street. They didn’t cavort with the top White House decision-makers and Pentagon contract fixers with their million-dollar kickbacks and mysterious billion-dollar budgetary evaporations.
The mafia dons did not relax or play golf with the paladins of wealth as did Dirty Dickie Cheney, or Georgie the Blood Sucker Bush, or Slick Willie Clinton, or Barack Legs Obama, or Bernie Two-Faced Madoff, or Casino Jack Abramoff, or Andy Fasthands Fastow or Kenny the Weasel Lay.
Now that’s organized crime: the policymakers not the bookmakers, the banksters not the gangsters.
The uneducated mafia thugs never did get near the real money. As already noted, they had to content themselves with smalltime scams, numbers rackets, loan sharking, cargo heists, extortion—even pathetic exploits like car thefts and busting open parking meters for the coins. If they had a corrupting influence on public officials, it was usually at the local level and in a limited sphere.