The state of California is swirling around the drain. Unemployment is the second-highest in the nation. Businesses are seeping away. The state budget deficit is intractable.

In times of crisis like these, we yearn for a true leader to step forward with clear thinking and bold plans. Someone who can get us on the path out of this morass.

Thank goodness Kevin de León has emerged. He’s a Democratic state senator who represents downtown Los Angeles. And he’s got a plan. De León has declared war on those dastardly flat sheets in hotels. He wants fitted sheets, and he’s introduced a bill to mandate them in all hotels in the state. The bill passed the Senate a few weeks ago, and if it passes the Assembly, it’ll be a misdemeanor for a hotel to use flat sheets.

No, no, no. This is not a waste of the Legislature’s brain power in a time of crisis. This is really important. You see, hotel housekeepers could get hurt lifting mattress corners to tuck in flat sheets.

Never mind that there’s scant independent evidence that many housekeepers have actually been hurt tucking in flat sheets. De León is sure it could happen, and I agree. I mean, think about it. Hotels have been using flat sheets for – what? – only a couple of hundred years. That’s hardly enough time to draw any conclusions. Any day now, we’ll hear about the rash of injuries caused by the menace of flat sheets.

Oh, sure, those hotel operators will tell you that if their housekeepers were really getting hurt from tucking in flat sheets, they would file a mess of workers’ compensation claims, and the hotels would find it in their economic self-interest to switch to fitted sheets. But what do those hotel guys know? I mean, all they know is how to operate hotels. That’s nothing.

Best of all, de León’s bill won’t cost hotels a thing. In fact, his spokesman, Greg Hayes, told the Los Angeles Business Journal, “We don’t want to burden these businesses. But we are saying, ‘The next time you place an (order to buy) sheets, make half of them fitted.’ And there should be no added costs to the hotel.”

Well, OK, so the hotels will have to buy five or six new sheets per room. And they’ll probably have to replace them more often because the elastic will degrade in the hot water that hotel laundries use. And they will have to hire people to fold the fitted sheets, since their folding machines won’t work on them. And it will take more time to make each bed. Add all that up, and it only comes to tens of millions of dollars statewide. Really no added cost at all.

You know, since there’s a debate about flat vs. fitted sheets, I did my own little experiment a few days ago. Sure enough, the fitted sheet was much easier to put on. Much easier. Well, at least the first three corners were. That fourth corner was a bit of a tug-of-war, but I eventually got it on perfectly fine, and the pulled back muscle will heal in just a few more days. No problem.

So I’m with de León. His bill, if passed, will improve our economy. It will enrich makers of fitted sheets and force those know-nothing hotel guys to hire sheet folders and extra housekeepers.

Now that’s the leadership California needs at this crucial moment to get us out of this crisis.