Robert Reich wants to know if Walmart is being punished for our sins.

In the eyes of Wal-Mart’s detractors, the Arkansas-based chain embodies the worst kind of economic exploitation: it pays its 1.2 million American workers an average of only $9.68 an hour, doesn’t provide most of them with health insurance, keeps out unions, has a checkered history on labor law and turns main streets into ghost towns by sucking business away from small retailers.

But isn’t Wal-Mart really being punished for our sins? After all, it’s not as if Wal-Mart’s founder, Sam Walton, and his successors created the world’s largest retailer by putting a gun to our heads and forcing us to shop there.

Wal-Mart helps poor Americans buy products they otherwise could not, insists on manufacturer efficiency to keep costs down, and frees up consumer money and resources to buy other products that the consumer would not otherwise buy.

Lefties are so interested in Wal-Mart as the anti-union monster, they are uninterested in the fact that the quality of life of many American poor would be worse without Wal-Mart.