At 41 years old, Goolsbee will be the youngest economist to chair the council since 1969, and he is taking the position at one of the hardest of economic times for the country. Last month he warned that the United States needed to be wary of a double-dip recession.
Below are five things you should know about the man who has been one of Obama's closest advisers since 2004.
1. He has lived all across this great nation: Southwest, West Coast, East Coast and Midwest.
Goolsbee was born in Waco, Texas, and moved with his family to California when he was a child. He went to Milton Academy outside of Boston for high school, a school that his mother chose. When they visited, he said, they saw a woman in a football uniform and someone else with a light atop her head.
"We thought people just dressed like that. My mom said, 'I like this school where people wear a light on their head,' " Goolsbee recalled during his 2004 commencement address at Milton. It turned out they were visiting on "Space Day," a Milton tradition at the time that apparently involved cosmic-themed costumery.
After Milton, Goolsbee went on to Yale, where he graduated in 1991 summa cum laude with a B.A. in economics and a master's in economics. He went on to get his Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995 and then to teach at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, from which he is currently on leave and where he met Obama.
"We would always joke that we were the skinny guys with the funny names," Goolsbee said of the president at the Washington, D.C., Comedy Improv Theater in 2009 (more on that below!)
On Nov. 1, he taught class in a tuxedo before getting married to his wife, Robin. They have three kids.
2. He was "National Extemporaneous Speaking Champion" in high school.
Described (totally awkwardly) as "a world-class jaw-boner" by Ben Smith of Politico, Goolsbee gained fame during the 2008 presidential campaign for eviscerating Republican pundits he was debating on cable news shows.
Some highlights include:
3. He's one of the few people alive to make trouble with Canada.On McCain and Wall Street reform: "It's a little strange for a guy that was cheerleader for a team of arsonists to now be coming forward and saying he'd be a great fire department chief!"
On McCain's economic plan: "The plan [McCain] wrote that he's saying is his plan could literally fit on a gas station receipt. I mean it was 10 sentences long, it was nothing."
Though he denies it, Goolsbee allegedly misspoke once during the presidential campaign. A Canadian government report said he had told Canada's Chicago consulate that Obama's anti-NAFTA campaign stance was "more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans."
The gaffe may have cost Obama the Ohio primary, but since then Goolsbee has joked about the incident.
"Don't believe anything the Canadians say," Goolsbee told Stephen Colbert on "The Colbert Report" last year.
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4. He might be described as an economic hybrid.
While the University of Chicago has a reputation for conservative economic thought, Goolsbee is known as a liberal economist. But Ezra Klein writes that "that's more a byproduct of his populist rhetorical style than actual populism. He's a serious free-market guy ..."
On an international scale, Goolsbee says that globalization isn't to blame for much of the country's income disparities, according to Will in The Washington Post, because "60 to 70 percent of the economy faces virtually no international competition." Globalization and the free trade that comes with it are often believed to affect American workers by providing companies with greater access to cheap labor.
"The jobs crisis is the hardest to fix in the immediate term because job growth is a lagging indicator," he said, according to Politico. "Even once we have laid the groundwork for financial recovery, economic recovery, housing recovery -- all of those things -- it still takes time to turn the job market around because ultimately that's a slow-moving process. That's the big boat to turn around."
Goolsbee fought Larry Summers, the director of the National Economic Council, over whether or not to bail out Chrysler. Goolsbee said no, Summers said yes. Summers won the day.
In his 2004 Milton Academy address, Goolsbee advised, "Don't count on others to bail you out. My grandma used to tell me that 80 percent of the world doesn't care about your problems and the other 20 percent are glad, and I believe that that is true, unless you are on the speech team."
5. He was crowned D.C.'s Funniest Celebrity of 2009.
While his brains got him a prestigious job in the White House, last year his witticisms got him another coveted title: D.C.'s Funniest Celebrity of 2009. His acceptance speech was an 11-minute comedy routine done in the style of Kevin Nealon's Mr. Subliminal, in which he added a level of subtext to a seemingly normal discussion of Washington politics by dropping his voice to say what he really thinks.
"If you think about it, we all want our kids to be educated," he said. "If you have no skills and no education and you don't know anything, what future do you possibly have? (Fox News Correspondent.)"
For those of you who are really bored at work on this gorgeous September Friday, below is a video Goolsbee's performance, courtesy of Politico: