I worked with Elements for a few versions, likely about 4 years.
Mostly I found it pretty much as complex as Photoshop, but less expensive.
Photoshop does have a number of features that will likely never be in Elements, but if you want a less expensive editor, try Elements for a while and see if it does everything you want. If it does, great -- if not, then my call would be Photoshop.
But so far as ease of use is concerned, assuming you use pretty much the same features, I don't see much to choose between the two.
Nathan, I just looked at Onone and I am intrigued. This may be the alternative I am looking for. How does this work with Lightroom? Is this a plug in or do you click the tab for "Edit in" and then return your image back to LR?
Peter - It's a plug-in, but works seamlessly. When the module you chose has done its thing - and you get to select from a large number of presets, but do not have to use any of them - you are returned to LR. In the filmstrip and Grid view, both the before and after versions are available.
I have not yet learned all the modules but very much like what I have played with so far. Version 8 promises to be even better.