It's BS, people will always say it used to be harder.
I still think the current crop has it better then the guys/gals who soldiered on during the Carter and Clinton administrations.
I think the Combat Arms guys are as hard as ever, probably harder and smarter.
The support folks leaving the wire are hard now, they had some glaring issues early on, but (for the most part) those were/are being addressed.
The FOBBITs have become weaker, hopefully that will change.
That said, we will see who is truely dedicated to their Teammates, and who is in it for other reasons.
Mid-level and lower NCO's have never seen a peacetime/do more with less budget, but that will soon change.
The same goes with the Officer Corps, O-4 and below don't know what a Garrison/Peacetime Army is about.
NG and Reserves will do better with a lower ops tempo.
I think the training is better, and probably harder because the VN generation did not have NTC/JRTC as a train up.
I think the 80's leaders are better overall because today's generation has a microscope over their heads, and a jury filled with hind site.
The big question in my mind is will the DoD accept a smaller, harder force; or will be keep size at the expense of readiness. My vote is option 2.