Mazur, 57, has a heavy lift ahead of him as Treasury's top tax-policy official. "If you look at where we are, the stars are aligned for tax reform," he says. Obama nominated Mazur for his post in November 2011, and he was confirmed in August 2012. He has spent decades working for the federal government and has a deep background in tax policy. Mazur, who hails from New Jersey, was the IRS's director of research, analysis, and statistics from 2001 until 2009. He began his career as a tax accountant for General Motors and later worked as an economist for the Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council under President Clinton. He also worked for the Energy Department as a chief economist and then briefly served as the department's director of policy during the Clinton administration. Mazur, who earned his bachelor's degree at Michigan State University and his master's at Stanford University, acquired his passion for tax policy during graduate school, when he worked as a research assistant for prominent tax scholar and economist Joseph Pechman. "It's an important policy job, and it basically touches everybody," Mazur says of his job. "To have a well-functioning government, you need to have the resources to fund the goods and services you want to provide."