In addition to these ironies, in his satire, Auden highlights opposing measures of the progress of JS/07 M 378 through life. One of these measures is represented by good behavior in the factory; in a sound Union (as opposed to a trouble making Union); proper conduct within his Union (e.g., not being a "scab," which is an anti-union worker); the proper beliefs about and participation in war and peace; and the correct absorption of propaganda from the daily Press (remember, the press played a big role in the Cold War for all countries involved). An opposing measure, perhaps seen as the reward or pay-off for the first measure, is JS/07 M 378's standard of living. He bought goods on the Installment Plan (monthly payments for large, otherwise unaffordable purchases); he had a phonograph for records, "a radio, a car and a frigidaire" (the original refrigerator). One of these opposing measures reflects conformity and party line, the other represents wealth, prosperity, progress and ostensible freedom.
In the end, the narrator, a representative of the "state," which has access to all levels of data collection and analysis, asks what the "state" thinks of as purely rhetorical questions about freedom and happiness and dismisses them out of hand as "absurd." The surprise, a sad surprise really, is in the last line: "Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard." The surprise is that the "state" actually, truly expected to have heard about unhappiness and restraints to freedom (1) in the society pictured (reflecting 1946) and (2) through the means established and exercised. In summary, "It's a good life, Charlie Brown," as long as you don't attend to the background framework and the rigidity; as long you look only at the popularity and cars and phonographs and radios and purchases on the Installment Plan. (Maybe we should have attended to this poem a little more carefully in 1946.)