News flash: Being single in America is more expensive than being married in America.

Say what? You don't believe me? Fine - but first go grocery shopping. Try buying only one pork chop or one piece of chicken. Or how about cake for one? If you don't eat it in a few days, it goes stale - and if you do, you pay for it in other ways.Now check out the prices of individually packaged frozen dinners. Maybe this is what Donald Trump eats, now that Ivana isn't around to cook - because as best as I can tell, he's the only one in America who can afford them. (I was only joking about Ivana doing the cooking.)

The point is: It costs just as much to buy for one as it does for two or three - and with two or three, you have less waste.

Still not convinced? OK then - take paying federal income tax in 1989. Let's say you're married and you filed a joint statement on an income of $30,950. You were taxed at the 15 percent rate and paid $4,642.50.

Now let's say you're single and have the same income. You were taxed at the 15 percent rate on the first $18,550 - and at 28 percent on the remainder. You wound up paying $6,254.50 in taxes.

The more money you make, the worse it gets.

If you're single, you were taxed at a 33 percent rate on income over $44,900. If you're married and filing jointly, you weren't taxed at the 33 percent rate until your income topped $74,850.

Even single heads of households are penalized under the current tax structure. They hit the 28 percent bracket when their income reaches $24,850, as compared with their married counterparts at $30,950.

Before you go digging out the kids' orthodontist bills or the receipt for the Air Jordans, let me remind you we're only talking single vs. married. No one said anything about married with children.

And while some of you may feel that paying more is worth the price of being single, Lorie Mann of Denver and her friends don't agree. What's more, they want to change the system - so much so that they recently formed the Association of United Singles of America.

No, this isn't a nationwide dating service. The Association of United Singles of America (AUSA) is the first lobbying group organized solely to speak on behalf of the 66 million people in ths country who are single.

"It's not as if single Americans have been intentionally discriminated against," said Mann, a single parent with three children. "Instead we've been invisible. Our hope with AUSA is to provide a unified voice that for the first time will represent the special needs of single Americans.

"We're looking for more equality for singles," said Mann. "We no longer want to carry a greater portion of financial burden in trying to reduce the federal deficit this budget go-around."

Mann says AUSA plans to poll its members to find out how the organization can best serve them. Do they want a change in the tax structure? If so, should that change be a flat rate?

In addition, Mann says, AUSA has already begun surveying members of Congress on issues affecting singles. The results will be distributed to AUSA members with a "report card" indicating which members of Congress support or ignore the interests of single Americans.

Most of the group's staff are volunteers, although Mann says each state will have a paid director who will appoint team leaders for every congressional district. Those team leaders will work with local volunteers to help carry out the group's business and organize voter-registration drives.

"There seems to be this perception of singles as yuppies in their mid-30s who have plenty of money to buy designer clothes, hang out in singles bars and drive Corvettes," said Mann.

"This is not your average single person.

"A lot of us are single mothers, seniors and hard-working adults trying to make ends meet.

"All we want is to be treated fairly."

Singles who wish to join the association can call, toll-free, (800) 776-AUSA.