01/01/2011 08:36 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

America's New Year's Resolutions

The bubbly is gone. The confetti has been swept off the streets. Uncle Sam's only reminder of last night's celebration is a hangover and a list of New Year's Resolutions.

Resolution 1: America promises to improve by learning from inside and outside the United States. Too often, America avoids learning from others. We promise to see how other countries solve their issues in society rather than blindly assume that whatever we do in America is the best. We also promise to see which states are succeeding and encourage the spreading of these best practices.

Resolution 2: America promises to be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. There are countless ways for America to improve its democracy. We can make elections more democratic by reducing gerrymandering. We can simplify the election process using Election Day registration so more people vote. We can correct the fact the Washington DC residents don't have a vote in Congress.

Resolution 3: America promises to stop being a tool for the elites. Countries where the benefits are targeted at the economic and political elites do not thrive for long. America, with the highest income inequality of any wealthy country, is letting today's elites choke our grandchildren's future. We can make this government more receptive to its millions of working class citizens and less of a tool for wealthy citizens, corporations and lobbyists by not lowering taxes for the wealthiest while raising tax rates for those in the low income brackets.

Resolution 4: America promises to plan for continued greatness 50 years into the future. We need to invest in education, but not blindly throwing money. We can extend the school year so children have more time to learn, just as they do in many leading countries. We can make quality higher education affordable. We can open the legal immigration doors even wider to the best talent from outside the United States inviting them to learn, build businesses and making it easier for them to stay.

Resolution 5: America promises to not be lazy or selfish. Short-term thinking creates long-term bad decisions. It will take significant effort to improve America's health so that we no longer pay 2-5 times more than other wealthy countries - corporate handouts to the health industry are not the solution. It will take significant effort to wrest control of America's economy from the finance industry. If we don't do this soon financial bubbles will increase in frequency and size with the middle class paying for the sins of the financial elites. It will take significant effort to improve safety so America no longer has five times the rate of violent crimes and incarcerations than most other wealthy countries.

Today we are the world's wealthiest and most powerful country. To remain great for future generations we need be humble enough to admit we aren't always the best, to study what is being done well both inside and outside of America and to use these best practices to rebuild the foundations of our society that are crumbling.

Author's note: To keep the article short, I wrote only a few resolutions for America - please add what you think are the top priorities to the comments.