If we believe that Ronald Reagan won the Cold War by manipulating the Soviet Union into spending more and more money on defense, then we have to give bin Laden the same credit for the situation in the US today.
I know this isn't politically correct, but I can't help but see the parallels. When bin Laden attacked the US on the 11th of September in 2001, the US enjoyed its first budget surplus in decades. Within days the US was planning to go into Afghanistan and destroy the Taliban who harbored bin Laden; creating a an atmosphere where strengthening of the already massive military-industrial complex was assured.
Compounding these actions were the decisions to institute unsustainable tax cuts "because the surplus was so large, keep the cost of the war off the books and fund it by using politically expedient emergency measures, and finally allow the fraud perpetrated by the "too big to fail" banks, bailing them out using taxpayer funds.
But the end result of all of this action is the same as what happened to the Soviet Union in 1989 - collapse of the empire and financial crisis.
So, there's a case to be made that bin Laden was the catalyst for the position the world finds itself in today; especially the US.