This is why I hate politicians. They play stupid games so that they can get legislation passed that sounds good to the American public, but really has no effect (or even a negative effect). The dividend tax cut is a perfect example of this. Here is what John Irons says about the "phase in" aspect of dividend tax relief:
The additional problem is that the phase in is terrible economics. As a company, will you pay out dividends this year, when they will be taxed at 50%, or next year, when they will not be taxed at all?
The likely result is a large reduction in dividends this year – exactly when we need economic stimulus.