"It also doesn't help that the zoom lenses that will bring out the most in this camera cost as much as a D300. (Please let's not start a zoom vs prime debate.)"
This is true, but that's pretty much always been the case. Good glass has always been expensive, and seen as an investment because it will always outlive your camera body (with digital bodies, anyway). The 24-70 you buy for your D700 will still be there when you eventually upgrade to the D3, D4, D800, or whatever.
Edited to add: I hope that you're right about the discounting. I'm going to try to wait to see if that happens.