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Left, right, and irrelevant...


Do our election choices matter? We seek candidates who most closely reflect our views for what's best for the United States of America. The problem is the only candidates who will wind up on your ballot are the candidates who have agreed to accept money from the interest groups who are passionate about individual (and often irrelevant) crusades. Click HERE to read more from Consumer Investigator Dale Cardwell regarding how special interest groups or political action committees, PACs, affect elections.

TrustDale Tip of the Day: *The High Cost of Being a Woman

It turns out being a woman is an expensive undertaking. Despite laws on the books meant to prevent companies and firms from charging women more for the same products and services, they're still shelling out more than men for a variety of things. And they do it on less pay.

A new report out this week from the National Women's Law Center found that insurance companies have been charging women $1 billion more than men for the same coverage. In fact, in the states that haven't banned the practice of jacking up prices for women - known as gender rating - women were charged more for 92 percent of the best-selling health plans. The difference can't be explained by a higher cost of maternity care: even when that care is left out, almost a third of plans charged women at least 30 percent or more, and that care is usually not part of a standard benefits package. Why might insurers decide women are more expensive? Because they tend to use more services - like going to the doctor more often for regular check-ups.

But health care isn't the only arena that gets women. Women also end up paying more just for everyday products and needs. Women pay more just to get their shirts dry cleaned (even though a "blouse" and a man's dress shirt is basically the same thing) and haircuts (our hair's made of the same stuff, right?). A study from the University of Central Florida found that women's deodorant costs 30 cents more than men's - and the only difference is scent. Bigger purchases also cost women more: on average women pay $200 more for a car than a man, and they were about 30 percent more likely to end up with subprime home loans before the crash.

All of this, of course, is paid for with lower income. The gender wage gap stood at 82 cents on the dollar for the same work men do. That gap ends up costing women $431,000 in pay over a 40-year career. In turn, they have a harder time building up assets and saving for retirement, even though they tend to live longer lives.

It seems being a man still gives you a big financial upper hand. With some people talking about women being the richer of the two sexes, one might want to stop and take a look at how much thinner their money has to spread.