Ken, you say:
CMYK is not really an issue if you have a PDF workflow. Work in RGB in InDesign and do the CMYK conversion when you output to PDF - but with reservations that need some trial error over things like transparency and any other factors which call for cohesion between the colour settings of different objects.
I disagree. If your output is print, you should convert to CMYK before any color correction or placement. Using RGB photos that most likely will have some colors out of gamut can give you very poor results when letting the PDF do the conversion.
Many a time a photo is very nice and has vivid colors in RGB, but the conversion to CMYK can dull them. Most recently, I worked with graphic that had a very bright and pretty blue that was totally destroyed to an ugly blue/grey color when converted from RGB, to CMYK. It was out of gamut.
Gotta start with CMYK and keep it that way all the way through the process. That is if you are serious about your work. Can't imagine anyone spending the kind of money on programs like ID that aren't serious about having the highest quality.
If you are going greyscale 99% of the time and only have the rare color photo, then maybe Elements would work.
Just my opinion, and I have a lot left to learn, that is for sure.