If we had quality talent at the top level, I would be willing to pay for it. Instead we get culture-pushing, fear-mongering, holier-then-thou sorts.
I know a lot of people on assembly lines that are far more trust-worthy than a lot of the politicians I read about. Or than a number of CEO's I've met or read about.
Maybe instead of thinking that it is the "high-but-not-high-enough pay" that encourages dishonesty, maybe it is the fact that these people are power-hungry, I-know-better sorts that are glad to take outside money and influence if it will let them win the next election to show that they were right all along.
And for your information, the average TV star doesn't make a huge amount. Not unless they are at the very top and score a $1M+ per episode deal, and that is usually only after years on a show. But I'm sure Charlie Sheen is showing just how respectable and worth it he is. After all, he is(was) getting paid well, so under your theory, he must be above all other influences, right?