There is no such thing as the United States economy, if by that one means (as the Obama Administration apparently does) an economy that belongs to the United States.
The United States economy is a collection of single companies, investment vehicles, businesses, etc. existing within the boundaries of the United States. All these entities are either individuals (d/b/as, partnerships) or owned by individuals (limited liability companies, corporations). The United States government has no claim to any of it. The economy as such is simply a measure of the health and productivity of these commercial entities existing within the borders of the United States, nothing more.
Given that the United States economy is not actually the United States’ economy, what, then, is the role of the United States in relation to the business entities situated within its borders? It is simply (easily enough said) to enforce the rule of law, providing a stable environment for all participants, with know rules and consequences. This contribution of the United States has made it the foremost incubator of successful business in the world.
Americans used to understand the role of government and the role of business. Government creates and enforces a stable set of rules by which businesses can operate. Businesses choose their enterprise and pursue it aggressively within the rules, and investors choose which business to bet on.
The Obama Administration, abetted by Congress, has abandoned its role in providing a stable business climate (and in fact is actively creating confusion as to the rules of the game), leaving businesses uncertain as to how best proceed. This business uncertainty created by government intervention will likely prolong and exacerbate this financial crisis.
There’s still time for President Obama to correct course, but the point of no return is rapidly approaching.