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It would appear to be that the rational reason to seek high public office is the desire for one to have a degree of influence in enabling changes they desire in government? In order to gain this position a person must do that which is necessary to gain the attention of those who would make it possible. This may be accomplished through obtaining favor from enablers by way of voluntary personal contribution and support to them, or taking employment offered from these entities, that implies quid pro quo from them – or – by appealing to voters in running for lower level public office along the way.
What may start out to be an idealistic endeavor usually results in one where moral and ideological beliefs become compromised. Those who help one to achieve higher public office usually are looking for something in return. Whether it is an elected office holder or one seeking office, they both require funds to support their respective campaigns. The position on issues that the office seeker actually takes in order to gain the approval of a majority of the voters may not always conform to that which is personally desired or even that desired by the financial supporter. Thus the pressures involved cause the office seeker to often compromise the true positions initially held.
Too often, the students of political science become aware that to gain the respective positions sought requires they accept the precept that "the end justifies the means". That compromises in moral and ideological positions are required and the need for financial support from those seeking government favors is of primary importance.
It doesn’t stop there. They also soon realize that the support of members of the political system are also required, not only to gain office, but to help to insure perpetuation of that employment over time. The power and personal financial rewards become easy to accept and rationalization of the compromises they have had to make in their moral and ideological positions becomes justifiable.
What we find is that government by its very nature is corrupt and this also holds true for one where public office holders are elected by vote of the people. The larger the government, the more corrupt it is.
It would rationally appear that as the size of government is reduced corruption would be accordingly reduced. This could be facilitated by turning over many functions it performs to the private sector. In addition, the size of the Federal Government and prevalent corruption could be reduced dramatically by repealing the 16th Constitutional Amendment, abolishing the income tax, and returning much of the power of the purse to State and Local Governments and to their respective residents.