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Shouldn’t US energy boom sideline Iraq, a little?

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

There's so much talk of the renaissance underway in domestic energy, you'd think the politics of Iraq shouldn't matter quite so much.

But that just doesn't seem to be the case.

"We're still hearing much more about Basra than Bismark," noted Jim Cramer, referring to capital of North Dakota.

"The Bakken shale boom has made North Dakota one of the richest states in the Union," the "Mad Money" host said. "It's brought unemployment in the state down to 3 percent, and the average wage earner in the oil patch brings home over $90,000 a year!"

Yet, despite those impressive developments, it appears that Iraq still matters more.

Alvis Upitis | Stone | Getty Images

Part of the issue, Cramer says, is the political bickering in Washington has created headwinds if not outright roadblocks for progress.

Cramer cited pipelines as an example. "It takes a tremendous amount of political will to build pipelines, especially in states without oil."

"Nobody seems to realize that the oil's going to flow no matter what—they'll just use a different means of transportation. So, the result? We end up shipping it by rail to do an end run around the political mess, but rail is actually more dangerous than using pipelines, not to mention more expensive."

Also, Cramer said the U.S. has been slow to increase refinery capacity that can handle the supply increase. "That's a big reason why Iraq matters more than North Dakota to the price of gasoline."

Beyond that, Cramer says our domestic power system is configured all wrong." Even in North Dakota, 79 percent of the state's power comes from coal. Instead, Cramer thinks the industry should be actively looking for ways to use natural gas, which is in such abundance it has to be burned off.

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Cramer doesn't see the situation improving until lawmakers sit down with leaders in the energy industry and develop a plan to harness the nation's bountiful oil and gas reserves.

Until that happens, Cramer says our nation's prosperity will remain tethered to the vast differences, both religious and secular, that have plagued the Middle East for thousands of years.

In other words, expect to hear a lot more about Iraq.



Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com

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