I can appreciate what you’re saying — you’re seeing a correlation between quality and a monetary exchange. If I may, I think the mistake in logic is that money is somehow the determining factor in that. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. In truth, as far as writing goes, the far more consistent determining factor is an editor, not money. I find the (free) writing of McSweeney’s, as just one example, every bit as rewarding as the (unfree) New Yorker. And I find the writing of the (ad model) Onion enormously rewarding and un-Fast food like. Those are just a small portion of written word content that don’t fall neatly into your model, but all benefit from having to go through the extra effort of submitting to an editor.
It might be more accurate, in your case, to say that paying for your writing simply relieves you of the effort of weeding through the piles of free words for something worthwhile. In essence, using money to determine what to read is kinda your drive-thru. ;)