WASHINGTON, DC—The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services released a 275-page report Monday blaming the increasing failure rate of American marriages on Clearwater, FL, 11-year-old Tommy Breyer.
According to the study, in addition to being the cause of his own parents' 1995 divorce, Breyer is also to blame for the breakup of more than 1.2 million couples each year.
"Because Tommy was not loving enough, or perhaps because he was not good enough," the report stated, "American marriages are now failing at an unprecedented rate."
The DHHS study concluded that the cost of feeding, clothing and housing Breyer had almost certainly put excessive stress on American domestic tranquility, as did his habits of leaving his toys all over the living-room floor, whining when told to go to bed, and whistling while U.S. fathers were trying to watch their favorite fishing show. The report said that such stress could have been avoided had Breyer tried harder to be good and not bothered American parents so much.
"Instead of helping, Tommy Breyer has only added to the problems of married people," said Duane Wollensky, director of the National Center For Health Statistics and chair of the DHHS study. "More than money, sex or religion, Tommy Breyer has been the primary sticking point in American marriages."
Wollensky noted that, in addition to the millions of couples who have divorced because of Breyer, millions more are unhappily married but staying together for the sake of the child. "Maybe in six or seven years, when Tommy goes off to college, these couples will feel like they can leave each other and finally find real happiness," he said. "But until that day, he is making a lot of people very, very unhappy."
When informed of the study's results, Breyer threw himself onto his bed and cried.
Married couples are not surprised by the study's findings. "Everything was fine in our marriage until Tommy came along," said Carole Scheib of Medford, MA, whose divorce will be finalized next week. "But instead of enriching our lives, his constant whining and never-ending need for attention drove a wedge between Bob and me."
When Breyer's mother became pregnant with him in May 1985, leading family advocates were hopeful that the child would help stem the rising tide of divorce in the U.S. However, Census Bureau statistics indicate that precisely the opposite has occurred: Since Breyer's birth in February 1986, over 10 million couples have ended their marriages, and the divorce rate has risen by 23 percent.
"Statistically speaking," U.S. Census Bureau director Martha Farnsworth Riche said, "it's unfortunate Tommy was ever born."
Meredith Ptacek, director of the D.C.-based Center For The American Family, agreed. "Normally, in cases of divorce, we tell children, 'It's not your fault,'" she said. "Well, in this case, I must tell Tommy that it most certainly is his fault. Tommy, you are just not a very good boy."