An Observer analysis of welfare data from nine Charlotte-area counties revealed the welfare reforms of 1997 to be less successful than some politicians claimed. Although caseloads have been trimmed in half over the last decade, taxpayers still haven't saved any money. Monthly checks are redirected into child-care subsidies and other programs that help former recipients. After leaving welfare, many recipients see little improvement in their lives. People who exhaust their welfare benefits are having a tougher time finding jobs than their predecessors, and those who do find jobs often live below the poverty line.