Let me see if I have this straight:

TV actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion-designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli, recently pleaded guilty to paying $500,000 in bribes to get their two daughters into USC.

According to prosecutors, they arranged for the girls’ grades and test scores to be inflated, and even went so far as to Photoshop images of them as elite high-school athletes.

They were sentenced to two and five months in jail, respectively.

I’m no Warren Buffet, but wouldn’t $500,000 more than cover tuition for two kids at most American colleges and universities?

We know that isn’t the issue.

They wanted to be able to boast about their daughters being at a prestigious university they didn’t deserve to be in.

Who was displaced because they cheated?

Whose life took a different trajectory?

In response to Loughlin’s plea, District Court Judge Nathaniel Gorton remarked: “Here you are, an admired, successful, professional actor with a long-lasting marriage, two apparently healthy, resilient children, more money than you could possibly need, a beautiful home in sunny Southern California — a fairy tale life. Yet you stand before me a convicted felon. And for what? For the inexplicable desire to grasp even more.”

Loughlin and Giannulli are not the first parents to engage in such criminality; they’re simply among the most famous. The bribery investigation also ensnared other families who have the luxury of anonymity.

Privilege is not just about having money or celebrity. Wanting fame and fortune is as American as blue jeans. It’s about believing you and yours are so special that you needn’t endure disappointment, failure and just plain-old rejection.

It’s a sidestep of the human experience.

Privilege is an entitlement that enables people to fail upwards. It allows the avoidance of reality and dismisses the possibility there may be someone more gifted.

It’s what causes parents to charge the field to punch out Little League umpires.

Here’s the kicker: Loughlin’s and Giannulli’s daughters were ambivalent about college, which probably fueled their parents’ anxiety. One is a YouTube makeup/fashion blogger, a career that has all the shelf life of $2 lipstick.

The couple burned up more than a year in court time for something they actually did because privilege is the belief that your money and connections will get you out of whatever dilemma you happen to find yourself in.

Loughlin and Giannuilli could have sent their daughters to decent schools and done a lot of good with the $500,000 they paid in bribes.

Instead, they decided that their good fortune wasn’t enough.

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Charita M. Goshay is a nationally syndicated columnist for Gatehouse News Service. She is a native of Canton, Ohio, and a graduate of Kent State University where she majored in communications. Goshay has been employed at the Canton Repository since 1990. She can be reached at

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