*With the very real prospect of failure in last-ditch budget talks, the LAV Times is reporting that federal officials have prepared plans to furlough about 800,000 employees, freeze the processing of some income tax refunds and suspend pay for the military as part of the impending government shutdown:

Administration officials detailed the shutdown plans Wednesday, emphasizing their hopes that Congress and the White House would reach a compromise on spending before a midnight deadline Friday.

Still, the backup plans were necessary “from a good government, good housekeeping perspective,” said a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity when detailing internal planning.

The contingency plans described a government that would be hobbled, though not halted completely. Social Security checks would still arrive, but new claims could be delayed. Medicare and veterans’ benefits would still be paid.

The Internal Revenue Service, in its peak season, would be unable to process paper tax filings, but that would not mean taxpayers could avoid the April 18 deadline. Some environmental cleanup would cease. National parks and the Smithsonian museums would be closed. Washington’s annual cherry blossom parade stands to be canceled.

The preparations come as lawmakers debate how much to cut from federal spending in the remaining six months of the 2011 fiscal year, a fight that is political as well as financial. Democrats have offered an agreement based on $33 billion in cuts, the largest spending reduction in generations. But Republicans want more and also want to ensure the cuts hit at top Obama administration priorities.

If talks fail, a shutdown – the first in 15 years – would resound across the country.

Read/learn MORE at the LA Times.