My first computer was an IBM 8068 clone. It came with GWBasic and a programming manual. There wasn't much else you could do with it, but it was fun, and I have been programming for hobby and professionally ever since.
Programming has not gotten easier over the years. That's mostly because I set more and more difficult challanges for myself. But getting started on a new device or platform (Android, iOS, Windows8, The Web, etc), even a simple "hello world", is also much more difficult than it was back in the early 90s.
One reason is that, by default, computers do not come with a programming environment anymore. There are many tools and programming lanuguages too choose from, but that doesn't make it easier, because many of those are aimed at a particular kind of application, while not so handy for other tasks.There are of course very powerful general purpose languages languages, tools, frameworks and libraries, but they are also much harder to learn and master. And there are lots of educational languages too, intended for learning to program, but they aren't used much for serious work. So which one too choose? How many languages, frameworks, tools, API's, will you need to learn?
More importantly, the kind of applications and games that kids are now used to, are way more complex than what I played with when I was a kid. Expectations are higher: fancy graphics, slick UI's, networking, multi-tasking, etc. Yes, more powerful tools and languages are available, and they can hide some of the complexity, but it's still there, and you will need to master that complexity, or you'll be limited in what you can build.
Finally, you can download a ton of apps, games, for free! Why bother writing your own?
I think in principle, learning to program is not that much more difficult than it was, but kids will need more guidance, someone to help them get started, pick the right tools, exercies, examples, and keep them motivated. Or perhaps some thing? An killer app, or a cool new device, that requires you to learn programming? But programmable robots never became very popular, even Lego Mindstorms is pretty rare. Maybe because of the price tag.