The president of the American Enterprise Institute, Arthur Brooks, author of The Battle: How the Fight Between Free Enterprise and Big Government Will Shape America's Future, has a long article in the Washington Post about the culture war between free enterprise and government control:
Free enterprise brings happiness; redistribution does not. The reason is that only free enterprise brings earned success.
Earned success involves the ability to create value honestly -- not by inheriting a fortune, not by picking up a welfare check. It doesn't mean making money in and of itself. Earned success is the creation of value in our lives or in the lives of others. Earned success is the stuff of entrepreneurs who seek value through innovation, hard work and passion. Earned success is what parents feel when their children do wonderful things, what social innovators feel when they change lives, what artists feel when they create something of beauty.
I'm not sure that poll results on happiness are as trustworthy a guide for public policy as Mr. Brooks seems to suggest they are -- there'd be a case against redistribution even if the polls Mr. Brooks cites showed that welfare recipients are happy. But the whole article is well worth reading -- there are also some wonderful Thomas Jefferson quotes in there.