GOOD DAY FOR: Two million workers, as the federal minimum wage rises 70 cents today, to $6.55, its first increase since 1997. ( The minimum wage is now about a third of the average U.S. wage; it was about half the average wage in the 1950s and 60s. Some 2 million workers will be affected by the increase. (The Atlanta Journal Constitution)

BAD DAY FOR: U.S. bragging rights, after Toyota said it sold 4.8 million cars and trucks worldwide in the first half of 2008, trouncing General Motors, which sold 4.54 million. Both automakers have been dented by the sagging U.S. market, but Toyota has weathered the shift to smaller cars more successfully. Toyota is well on its way to dethroning GM from its 70-plus years as the world’s top auto seller this year. (MarketWatch)