In the past a party looking to get a patent would go back and forth with the patent examiner at the USPTO a number of times, because the USPTO had a vast library of prior art that your average person doesn't have access to. Every time the examiner came up with prior art the patent would have to be rewritten to shrink it claims.
Now with the internet, anybody can search just about any database, this means the first draft patent will include more examples of prior art, a patent with less broad claims, and less for the patent examiner to object to.
A better measure of whether the USPTO is lowering its standards is the number of broad claims versus narrow claims in a patent. As well as the number of prior art examples cited in the patent, by definition if the prior art describes an aspect of the patent, that aspect is not patented, it is cited as a reference to what the patent DOES NOT cover.