• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • “I’m from the Government, and I’m Here to Make You Happy”

    Did you know that President Obama’s “Yes, We Can” Administration has been funding a research project to invent a composite index that measures happiness? Yes, you read right—an aggregate index that aims to compute your happiness, mine, and our nation’s.

    Everybody wants to be happy, and it might be nice to know just how happy we are, but there are plenty of pitfalls in the government’s pursuit of a happiness index. One of the stated purposes of the project is to explore ways of constructing a measurement that could be used “in official government surveys to inform social and economic policies.”

    Putting aside the near impossibility of creating a reliable “subjective well-being” index and practically using it in evaluating the effectiveness of government policies, the desire of the government to measure its citizens’ happiness is absurd at best and dangerous at worst.

    As a recent National Affairs article titled Saving Happiness from Politics precisely pointed out:

    Taken as a whole, the discipline of happiness studies appears to be motivated less by a new understanding of human well-being than by a desire to rationalize and update the policies of the social-democratic welfare state. While advocating a state of well-being, the happiness movement—at least as applied to politics—produces little more than a new defense of the old entitlement state.… [S]ome of the policies advocated by the happiness activists are already realities in many of today’s European welfare states.

    Our tax money shouldn’t be wasted in crafting a new defense of big government. For our part, we would be a lot happier if the government would just save the money and the effort.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to “I’m from the Government, and I’m Here to Make You Happy”

    1. Joe says:

      I would be happy if they just left me and my money alone.

    2. Bobbie says:

      happiness can't be measured by people that have personality conflicts! Everyone on Mr. Obama's side of whatever skin color they possess has a big problem with their own happiness and sticking their nose in areas they don't belong is unwarranted. We the people make each other happy in our own ways with our own personalities that weren't manipulated by the hate teachings through Jeremiah Wrong, Jesse Jackson, Al sharpton and that Vain Jones, paid by white people who were without the knowledge of this vain, to fill minds to hate white skin. What low lifes! Get this foreign dictate out of America! If duties defined aren't enough to do, CUT THE PAY!

    3. We in the UK have the same thing – as do other countries within the European Union. For this we can look to Agenda 21 and the UN. Welcome to the sinking ship.

    4. Guest says:

      I'd be happy if they stopped using my tax dollars to fund this garbage.

    5. Stirling says:

      When government looses touch with the people it represents (or just wants to appease us, rather then serve us) this is what you get. When government wants to Psycho-analyse the masses it's purposes should be questioned, and exposed as being "Creepy." We are people, not lab rats..

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×