Current job: Economic policy director for President-elect Barack Obama.
Credentials: Former director of the Hamilton Project, an initiative that develops policy proposals to achieve shared economic growth; visiting scholar at New York University's Wagner school; nonresident senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; former staff economist at the Council of Economic Advisers; senior economic adviser to the chief economist of the World Bank; director of economic policy for the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry.
What he offers: Furman shares Obama's goal of creating universal health care and the president-elect's tendency to work to forge a policy path after considering disparate views. He was also an influential critic of President Bush's proposal to revamp the Social Security system.
Vetting: Some Democrats view his sometimes centrist stances on trade and the deficit with suspicion.
Quote: "Productivity is the principal driver of economic progress," Furman wrote in 2005. "It is the only force that can make everyone better off: workers, consumers and owners of capital."