that's because photoshop cs is a full professional level piece of software. The tools and things used for photo editing are a small part of what the program can do.
elements is a cut down version of photoshop and if you can get a copy then it serve you well. You might also want to consider Paint Shop Pro.
You might also want to see if you can find a copy of photoshop 7, or even cs 1 for a decent price. Now cs2 is out there might be a bargain to be had. If you are going to use RAW format then cs would be better than 7.
It also depends on how much you intend doing to your images, as to whether you really need a full blown editing software package. There are quite a few more specialist software packages designed more for photographers.
i use photoshop nearly every day at work for web graphics, creating mock ups of websites and things.... very rarely do I use it at work for photo editing. At home I use it for web graphics, mock ups.... do you see a pattern here.... oh, and photo editing..