Adobe Photoshop Elements has most of the useful features of Photoshop and often comes bundled with cameras or film scanners. Even at retail price it's a lot cheaper than the full blown program. You'll probably find you'll only use some of the facilities it offers unless you are professional or got plenty of time to spare!!
Adobe software (both expensive and cheaper)is very good I understand, though I have never managed to fathom its intricacies.
JASC's PaintShop is more my level and even then has far more on it than I will ever use. I find Roxio's PhotoSuite v. easy to use although it is fairly limited in scope it can do most things; even though I guess it is frowned upon by many of the purists. Add to those the umpteen Freebies that abound and there is plenty to choose from.
You really have to try the software out to see if it suits the way you think!
Curlylad, the best answer is given by GroupFC. Put your money into your camera, and not your software. As money is not a major factor in your case, go to click here and look at Nikon D70. Buy the Best lens selection, and you will not have to look back. Believe me!
The better your photographic quality achieved, the less you need a photo enhancing program.