Were the actions that the US government took to help the economy during the recession effective?
It is impossible to know if the actions that the government took in the recent recession were effective. This is because we cannot know what would have happened if those actions had not been taken. It is also because it is very difficult to isolate impacts caused by governmental policies as opposed to impacts caused by other things.
These problems can be seen in the links below. These are studies of the impact of President Obama's stimulus package that was meant to get the economy back on a positive track. One link says that 6 out of 9 studies show important positive effects while 3 studies show that it had no effect. The second link also argues that there was no effect.
The government took all the standard actions to improve the economy, but there is no way to know for sure if they were effective.