Actually, during the Eisenhower years, we were paying off WWII and the taxes on the rich went into the 90% range. That was on net, not gross earnings, so instead of paying the taxes, the rich guys invested that money where ever they could, expanding their businesses and hiring.
They figured that expanding might create a profit, and taxes certainly wouldn't. The result was a financial boom. Everyone could get a job, everyone was spending money, and everyone was paying taxes. So, by avoiding paying taxes to pay foff the deficit, the rich guys created a situation where they got paid off anyway.