Oh, if only experts saw what was coming years ago -- if only someone had told us what might happen.

That's a frequent lament about the U.S. housing market (and now the entire world economy). But some economists did warn that a bubble was forming long before it popped. (I did a Q&A with one last year.)

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Now comes Bruce Bartlett, a former Treasury Department economist and current columnist for Forbes.com, who -- starting in 2001 -- kept a file of articles, reports and speeches on the housing bubble. Yes, '01. Here's what he writes:

Not among the economists who were right sooner than the crowd: Alan Greenspan, who -- Bartlett says -- "was still saying that the housing market was nothing to be concerned about" in October 2004 when he was Fed chairman.

But in fairness, I see a New York Times story in February of that year about a warning Greenspan did issue:

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