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Quoted from an email originally sent to: manyhills

The author writes:

EDIT: Hi there, everyone. No comic today, sorry - I've just been so busy with work and everything. In lieu, check this out though - it could be interesting. I'll update next Wednesday, have no fear!

OK, this one requires a little explaining. The welfare state is the idea of government providing a "safety net" to citizens, paid for out of taxation. Old age pensions and publicly provided health care are both examples of the welfare state in action. The welfare state became prominent after the Second World War, and it's an idea that is especially prevalent in Scandinavia. So the government charge on drawing water in the comic, since it's being used for hospitals, is an example of the sort of thing that would be going on a welfare state.