Not that he needs to, but Bornakk steps up on the forums to justify exactly this kind of tiered system. Players complain that Ulduar is "useless" now that you can obtain its badges from lots of different places, but Bornakk says this system is definitely preferable to what Blizzard did in vanilla and BC, which was requiring new raiders to run through all of the old content before seeing the new and shiny stuff. They don't want the old content to sit useless (and it's not -- lots of guilds are still running Ulduar and even Naxx for the hard modes and achievements), but after the high-end raiders have their fun, it's important to get everyone else up to speed as well.
Bornakk admits it's "a tough line to walk," divining which of the two systems (straight raiding vs. badge earning) works better in which places. But Blizzard will never make everyone completely happy, and I think they've done a much better job this expansion in terms of balancing the need to show off all of their content against the need to get players working in their own ways towards gear rewards. In Cataclysm, it certainly seems like endgame won't be as big a focus -- in the beginning, anyway, we'll all be looking at the old world and what's changed back then. It'll be interesting to see if they incorporate the tiered badge system in the rest of the game as well.