I'm getting really tired of partisan discussion in the street about how to fix the deficit problem, so I went ahead and pulled some data from OMB and found the following chart
[data source http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals/
As you can see revenues never crossed 20% of GDP irrespective of top marginal rates. Highly affluent people and corporations have much higher flexibility wrt to the timing, location and type of income they generate.
It's obviously going to be very hard to achieve peak revenue levels during recessions.
The clinton surplus miracle was achieved when spending was at 50 years low [as percentage of GDP] in FY2000 at 18.2%
We have both a spending problem AND a revenue problem. The latter has to be fixed via broadening the tax base, this isn't euphemism for taxing "hard working middle class Americans" but rather just plain elimination of all breaks, exceptions, loopholes, deductions and applying a flat top marginal rate to all type of income.