“Since Kennedy’s speech, a number of alternative measurements of a country’s well-being have been created.”
This seems like a bit of a straw man to me. I don’t recall any economist arguing that GDP was a proxy for “well being”. Because GDP is indicative that the economy is creating jobs, it’s fair to say that there’s a correlation between GDP and Well Being, but it’s not a perfect one, as you seem to be suggesting.
But when was the last time you heard any major politician, political pundit, or opinion leader cite any of those measurements?
The problem with “Well Being” measurements is that they always include subjective factors, to a greater or lesser extent. Suppose a “well-being” measurement included how new your car is. Well, somebody with an older car than you that runs better than yours might actually be more satisfied with theirs than you are with yours; however, the metric doesn’t pick up those nuances.
GDP is the most important metric that indicates how well the economy is functions. Every quarter will have *some* background noise, such as hurricane repairs, but over time, those sort of cancel each other out. That said, GDP is as good of a metric that we’re going to get.
That said, adding in some of these “happiness” metrics alongside (rather than replacing) would be reasonable.