I use safflower in place of saffron and it works just as well. So I don't agree that there isn't a good substitute for saffron. I realize that saffron is a prized spice, that's why it tends to have a bigger price tag. But this doesn't meant that saffron has to be used for every recipe that calls for it.
Plus, some of these other substitutes have their own benefits. For example, turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and it is believed to even protect from cancer. Paprika is also very beneficial. It contains lots of vitamin A and vitamin E.