I believe he's bemoaning the complexity of frameworks and toolkits rather than the tools used to work with those frameworks and toolkits. Technically he's correct -- things are a lot more complex than they used to be for getting the most basic of tasks done.
But you know what? Business isn't interested in basic tasks any more. They want it secure. They want it scalable. They want a web front end, and a desktop client, and apps for Android and iOS. The days of the old "read billing file, produce accounting records" code have not gone away; those projects were just done 30-40 years ago and don't need to be rewritten, just tweaked from time to time to allow for changes in regulations such as tax law or liability.
Even the last company I worked for wasn't content with a mere rewrite and update of their core business with the new software -- they had a whole new plan of integrating another 5 or 10 vertical functionality features into the system (it was just an autodialer -- they wanted integrated CRM, push button customer calling, call answering, call forwarding, a full phone system with voice mail support and enhancements to the ever popular auto-answering system of branching menus and responses, and the ability to deploy the whole thing as a multi-client web service instead of deploying custom configured hardware to the client sites.)
The frameworks and toolkits have correspondingly become more complex in order to support those needs. Look at the transaction processing systems of old -- you'd buy a number of seperate products including a message queueing system, a report formatting tool, a database engine, and a transaction processor, each of which had their own APIs and documentation. Each tool was relatively simple, but getting them all coordinated and working together was hard as hell. Now you take JEE, buy just about any message processor and database you like, and it all largely works with the same API regardless of which vendor's tools you chose. So while the JEE framework is incredibly complex compared to a transaction processor of old, what it does in total is also saving you insane gobs of time integrating and debugging disparate products. So technically JEE is far simpler than things used to be, despite the ramp-up learning curve.
The same is true of every framework or toolkit I've used for over 10 years -- they tie together multiple vendors products consistently so that only small tweaks are needed to adapt to the vendor's products rather than whole-application re-writes if you decide to swap something out.
Hell, take a look at what I did with Java, six different vendor databases, and JDBC alone for http://msscodefactory.sourceforge.net. The differences between each of those database integration layers are not subtle, but nor are they particularly arcane. All of the products have virtually the same feature set; there are just differences in how you use JDBC and stored procedures for each database. Compared to "the old days", it was a cake walk to do that integration and customization over the past 3-4 years. And remember I worked on that code by myself -- it wasn't a whole team of programmers dealing with the complexity. If one guy can produce that using standardized toolkits in 3-4 years, how can you say things are more complex than they were when it used to take a team of 100-150 programmers 2 years to produce something similar for one database?