I dislike the IRS as much as anyone, but I think taxing income is a lot simpler to make progressive than trying to categorize all the different kinds of products available would be.
Have you seen our tax code? When I took Federal Income Taxation in law school, I had to get a copy of the tax code, and it was about six inches thick. (I don't remember, or care, if or how much it was annotated.) That's a mighty long list of exceptions to consumption tax.
But consumption taxes will never take on, because the tax code is really about control. If I grant tax favors for certain preferred behaviors, I can exercise a phenomenal amount of control over what you do. If I'm a power-grubbing statist anywhere on the purple spectrum, that's much better than merely influencing what you buy.