This new AP-Yahoo! News poll shows that while 66 percent of Americans say they are happy, 77 percent think the country is heading in the wrong direction. This is, in a nutshell, why Sachs-Stevenson lost the Economist happiness debate. Right now, many Americans are unhappy with their position in the political and economic cycles. But Americans are a happy people, with a sense of control over their lives. This high level of personal satisfaction is the consequence of an optimistic culture and stable institutions that create wealth and opportunity. Dissatisfaction with the way things are going will change soon enough, Americans know it, and that's why it doesn't actually get us down.