WASHINGTON -- A panel of experts thinks the U.S. government should be more in touch with Americans' feelings.
By gauging happiness, there'd be more to consider than cold hard cash when deciding matters that affect daily lives, according to a report this week from the National Academy of Sciences, which advises the U.S. government.
The panel of economists, psychologists and other experts assembled by the academy recommended federal statistics and surveys, which normally deal with income, spending, health and housing, include a few extra questions on happiness.
"You want to know how people are doing?" said panel chairman Arthur Stone, a professor of psychology at New York's Stony Brook University. "One of things you may want to do is ask them."
Asking how people feel can be as important as how much they are spending, Stone said.
For example, economists have something they call the "misery index" which adds the unemployment and inflation rates, but doesn't include how people feel. If you want to know misery, the question to ask is "how much suffering is going on?" he said.
-- The Associated Press