Economists (not the government) would work together to determine the absolute minimum amount of income necessary for bare survival - without unnecessary amenities, such as ATV's, wide screen plasma TV's and iPads. This, of course would have to be "regionalized", to take into consideration cost differences by region.
Of the number arrived at, the government would assure that every citizen receives at least half fromthe government, while the individual would be required to provide the other half (except for those who cannot provide for themselves due to physical and/or mental incapacity - they would receive the full amount, perhaps more). In other words, equal responsibility - if the individual is unwilling to provide at least half his own needs, the government has no obligation to help him.
To provide incentive to people to better themselves, this "poverty stipend" would only be reduced by $1 for every $2 the individual earns that is over and above the poverty guideline, which eliminates the fear of losing money by working.
EXAMPLE: Let's say the minimum income for a family of 4 in a certain area is $24,000. The family would receive $12,000, in monthly payments of $1,000 each. If the family earns $30,000 in a year, they would still receive $9,000 a year in stipend. The stipend would not disappear altogether until the family is earning $48,000 per year.
There would be NO other government welfare programs, except Medicaid. Social Security would be untouched, as that is not welfare - it is earned by each individual who works.
While this plan may seem harsh, that is what is necessary to end poverty. Governments cannot "buy out" poverty - only productive work can eliminate poverty.