Spend Matters Friday Latte

Higher standards.
BP Pledges Better Gulf Safety -- BP PLC vowed to hold itself to a higher set of deepwater-drilling standards than those already prescribed by U.S. authorities, as the U.K. energy giant aims to assure regulators it is ready to return to operations in the Gulf of Mexico following last year's Deepwater Horizon disaster and subsequent oil spill.

More taxing!
Now Your Visa & MasterCard Receipts are Taxed! -- Did you know that any business owner taking credit or debit card transactions will be required to report their revenue to the IRS each and every year beginning in 2011. The threshold for this reporting is: a merchant's total payment transactions for the year exceeds $20,000 and the total number of transactions for the year exceeds 200.

Cut cut cut cut cut.
The Pentagon's Financial Drawdown -- THE new secretary of defense, Leon E. Panetta, will soon face the challenge of significantly reducing the Pentagon's budget. As directed by President Obama, he will have to find at least $400 billion of savings over the next 12 years, or $33 billion per year -- about 5 percent of the current annual defense budget. His decisions will reshape our armed forces for decades to come and determine whether we live in a more or less dangerous world.

An age-old tradition.
Outsourcing War -- The ancient Egyptians hired Nubian mercenaries; the Israelites also hired foreign troops, as did the Romans. In the Revolutionary War, the British hired German troops (the so-called "Hessian force"), while the Revolutionary Navy paid privateers to fight. Almost always, states hire contractors for the same reasons: Either they don't have enough troops on hand, or they want to use force abroad without alarming citizens at home.

- Sheena Moore

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