I was the boy, sneaking a book to bed to read by the street light far outside our home. I spent my first semester in college reading all night and sleeping in class most of the day, and didn't notice the coeds (had my priorities right). Sure enough, bad habits don't disappear - especially if you don't get a chance to sit around waiting for something to happen next like you once did (long lines at Disney Parks are great for reading fat books). So last night I had a book that I had read long ago, that I just wanted to do another couple of pages, and another couple and finally it was over - and I was happy and it was time to allow the body to rest for the mind was in the zone.
What would you do to improve the government? "Ignore it" come immediately to mind. If they didn't try to scare you all the time, pretend to be your protector, and give you stuff for nothing or just your support in the next elections -- would you care much about the government? Family and friends are more important, real work and producing and harvesting and caring for your life is all more important than the government - by type or anything else. God is the same in all the nations, so there is much that is critical that the government doesn't do.
If I were to change the American government, I would have a balance budget amendment. Government gets money three ways - it creates it, taxes the economy, or borrows it from somewhere. It doesn't really think it into existence from future earnings (although I think that is the current ploy).
I would have automatic reviews of all laws at the level of enforcement (yes that means regulations from Agents of the government) every other year. Odd years would be spent reviewing the existing laws - if they don't apply they get repealed, if they are never enforced - they get repealed (if they get repealed the people convicted under those laws are released from punishment for that crime, which isn't any longer). A whole year for destroying, or pruning the laws - things change you know.
The last most important thing is to keep the government flexible, and able to meet new challenges. So, no person may serve at the Federal Level of government in any elected office for more than twelve total years. That is it, twelve years and you are out. No retirement beyond Social Security, no pay beyond ten percent of the National average. All staff works for twice Minimum wage, housing and food provided, no more than twelve years in government service in one location.
Now health care, it isn't really a good thing for the government to be engaged in, like the government controls space exploration and nuclear power - and this country isn't really going anywhere that way is it? So if they get in charge of medicine, nah. But let us have exactly what we have in education. Public Health Service like Public Education, government hospitals, training certifications, and honest competition between real doctors trying to heal and make lots of money and those government hospitals where you sit and wait to be seen and cared for. Yes, the Mayo Clinic will still be better than the Crow Reservation Medical facility - but there will be health care. Those with money will go to private schools, have tutors, or continue to build Home Schools. So those with money will continue to get the best care they can buy, plastic surgery and mind numbing medicines to feel better, and the remainder of us will just get the required immunizations to protect the population.
Now that was an interesting exercise, but the truth is that I am not smart enough to design a fine functioning government - but that the government at all levels isn't smart enough (putting more computer systems and humans brains together don't always produce the best of anything) to make my life safe, happy and productive. If the market were free then you could design a country that people would flock to (duh, 19th Century America?), or flee from (Eastern Germany of the 1970's). As we design a free market economy, a participatory government and define public service better - but a real key is ability to adapt. Tsarist Russia, fine nation and empire for a long time - was built on repression, Russian had the potential of the United States but didn't know how to change and allow the people to grow. One of the things that troubles me is the idea of the media that a Czar of Education, Drugs, or anything is an improvement in making something better.
Honest I will get better by learning all my life, not using drugs that make me stupid or numb, by not drinking to excess, by moving more than is minimally required, and a bit faster. Do I need a government to make me understand what a great life is? Oprah would bring a guest on, Doctor Oz will tell me about organs and health, do I need the government conducting a survey of results? the media polling people instead of reporting the vote count on election day? Hmmm, should sleep through more of these thoughts. The book was really great.